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The Narrintbri .... 

zTuE Adelaide Tribe 

oThe Encoumtxr Bat Tribe . 

oTuE Port LuiooLir Tribe 

' The Dieterib Tribe 

Vocabulary of Woolner DiarRicrl 
Dialect (Northern Terretort) / 


By Dr. WYATT, J. P. 

Br The Rev. A. MEYER. 

Br The Rev. 0. W. SCHURMAKN. 





By J. D. WOODS. 



Cit Itj-i-^^t^ 



- r ' ^/. 








II. THE N ARRiy Y Ifcfel ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 1 — 156 

Chap. I. The Karrinyeri, or Tribes of Aborigmes Inhabit- 

ing the Lakes Alezaadrina and Albert, and 

LowerMorray 1 

Chap. n. Social Customs— 

Section 1 — Marriage 10 

Section 2 — Infanticide 13 

Section 3 — Initiation to Manhood, called 

Nanunbe ... ... ... 15 

Section 4 — Funeral Rites 18 

Chap. UL Sorcery of various kinds — 

Section 1 — Ngadhungi 23 

Section 2~Millin 26 

Section 3 — Keilyeri, or the Poison Revenge ... 29 

Chap. IV. Tribal Customs— 

Section 1— Chiefs — The Tendi— Ngia-ngiampe 32 

Section 2 — Qames and Amusements ... 37 

Chap. V. Weapons — Manufactures — Taking Game— Cook- 
ing — Diseases — Medical Treatment ... 40 

Chap. VL Relationships— System of Kinship 48 

Chap. VIL Mythology 55 

Chap. Vin. The History of the Mission at Point Madeay ... 66 

Chap. IX. The Primitive Condition of Mankind 119 

Chap. X. Language ... 123 

Chap. XI. (Supplementary). Illustrative Anecdotes, &c. ... 133 

C^AP. XII. The Future of the Aboriginal Races, and Feasi- 
bility of Christian Missions to them 145 

Appkxdix. The Wreck of the iTar/a 151 



>C<: ^^'^"'' 









BAY TRIBES •.• ..• ••• .•• •*• ..• ... 169-~*'lo2 


XiUISJii ••. ••. ••> ••• ••• ••• ••* ... ••• XOu^'^Uo 



Part I, The Tribe— Its Country — Neighbours— Good and 

Evil Qualities — Love of Bartering — Food — 
Dogs — ^Traditions of the Creation and of the 
Sun — Subdivision into Families 257 

Pabt II. Councils — Treaty — Mode of Reception — Armed 

Party — Laws — Ceremonies — Hole in the Nose 
— Extraction of Teeth — Circumcision — To 
Procure Harvest — ^To Invoke Peace — Opera- 
tion of the Koolpie — Funeral Rites — Death 
Spell — Making of Rain — Making Wild Fowl 
lay Eggs — Making Iguanas — Superstition 
about Iguanas and Trees — ^Remedy for Acci- 
dents — Expedition for Red Ochre— Diseases — 
Doctor— Cure for Disease or Wounds ... 262 

Past IIL Catalogue of Animals, &c —Rats and their Con- 
geners — Reptiles — ^Birds — Fish — ^Vegetables — 
Insects — Manufacturing Products — ^Weapons 
and Personal Ornaments 285 

Pabt IV. The Dieyerie Dialect — Key to Pronunciation— Out- 
line of the Construction of the Language — 
System of Notation — Astronomical Terms — 
list of Names distinguishing Age or Relation- 
ship — The Ten Commandments — Parts of the 
Human Frame— Vocabulary 290 




Natitk Ekcampmsnt ...-.-- Frontiepiece 


^HoLUDfo Native Inquest ....... 20 

Dktino a Dead Body ....... 75 


"" Ifterior of a Native Hut- - 118 

Staoe Beabino Dead Bodies ...... 200 

^CORBOBO&SB ..----••- 241 








The Narbintbri .... 
cTuE Adbuudb Tribb 
oThb Engouittbb Bat Tbibb . 
oThe Pobt LnrooLN Tribb 
' Thb Dibtbrib Tribb 

Vocabulary op Woolnbr District) 



By Dr. WYATT, J.P. 

Bt Thb Rbv. A. MEYER. 

Bt Thb Rbv. C. W. SCHURMANN. 





By J. D. WOODS. 




forgotten except by some of the earlier colonists. The Poonindie 
mission is now carried on without Government assistance. The 
mission at Point Macleay, established for the care of the natives 
who inhabit the country bordering upon Lakes Alexandrina and 
Albert and the Lower Murray, is also carried out without subsidy 
from the public purse. The general care of the Aborigines is 
entrusted to the mounted police, who periodically distribute 
blankets, flour, tea, sugar, &a, to the natives in those parts of the 
country where any of them survive, or from time to time may 
make their appearance. 

It is impossible, at the lapse of forty years after the first 
settlement of South Australia, to arrive at the exact measure of 
the extinction which has fallen upon the native races. In the 
early days, the Europeans were too busily engaged in locating 
themselves on their new possessions, and in the active task of 
rendering a wild country fit for the habitation of civilised men, to 
trouble themselves greatly about the native tribes, whose lands 
were confiscated for their use. No census of the Aborigines was 
attempted to be taken. Any estimate, therefore, of what their 
numbers then were, must now be to some extent conjectural. In 
1842, Mr. Moorhouse, who was Chief Protector of Aborigines in 
South Australia, estimated that there were about 3000 scattered 
over the tract of country extending 160 miles north and 200 miles 
east of Adelaide. Mr. Eyre, the protector at Moorundi, on the 
Murray, who quotes this estimate, considers that they must have 
amounted to at least double that niunber. Captain (now Sir 
George Grey, K.C.B.), however, found the number of inhabitants 
to the square mile to vary so much from district to district, that 
he could not arrive at any computation which would even nearly 
approach the truth. Assiuning Mr. Eyre's estimate to be correct, 
as applied to the area given by Mr. Moorhouse, the rest of the colony 
would at least contain an equal number. This would give a total 
of about 12,000 souls, a number which cannot be considered to be 
excessive. The census of 1876, published by authority, gives the 
number of the Aborigines of all ages and of both sexes as 3953 
for the whole of the province. Of these only 1000 are to bo 


fomid scattered about the settled districts. The dLsproportion 
between the sexes is significant, there being 2203 males to 1750 
females. Of the males, 217, or Oil per cent, only of the adults^ 
(1862), were engaged in any kind of occupation with the settlers. 
These figures show that the whole of the native population of the 
province at the present time, is not much more than half of that 
which inhabited the settled districts in 1842; and where now a 
blackfeUow is almost unknown, the black population at the 
foundation of the colony was, as has been seen, about 12,000 — a 
very small number for such an extensive territory. The black 
population now being 3953, it would seem that 67 per cent, of 
them, with all that belonged to them, have gone from the face of 
the earth in forty-two years. 

In South Australia there have been no wars against the 
Aborigines. In the very early days of the colony, some tribes 
were attacked and chastised for wholesale murders, committed by 
them on shipwrecked people and parties travelling overland with 
stock. Some also were shot by settlers, sometimes in self-defence, 
and in many cases without adequate provocation. All the deaths, 
however, which can be ascribed to this cause, fail to establish 
such occurrences as forming one of the principal causes of their 
disappearance. All who have written upon the subject of the 
Australian native tribes acknowledge that they vanish before the 
white settler. Even in cases where they have been guarded from 
the habits and the maladies which are to some extent incidental 
to civilisation, the result has been the same, though not so speedily 
attained. A brief glance at the causes which have contributed to 
this end may be found interesting. 

There can be no doubt, from the testimony of those who had 

much intercourse with the natives, that before the Europeans 

came into the country, and before they could have had any 

influence over them, the Aborigines were decreasing in number. 

Habits and practices, religious or otherwise, helped to cut the 

races short; and infanticide, as well as cannibalism, played their 

horrible part in accelerating the catastrophe. The native women 

cannot be considered less fruitful than the women of other 

b 2 


countries and races. Ejrre* (quoting Dr. Moorhouse, Protector of 
Aborigines) states that each Aboriginal native vroman has, on the 
average, five children, nine being the greatest number known, but 
that each mother rears, on the average, no more than two of her 
ofl&pring. Such a fearful discrepancy can only be accounted for 
by the existence of some natural causes which affect infant life, 
or by the fact that they are put to death as soon as bom. Eyre, in 
his account of the Aborigines, dwells at considerable length on 
the causes which operated principally in the diminution of tribes, 
or, as he expresses it, " from going on in an increasing ratio." 
He says, ''First, there is polygamy and the illicit and almost 
unlimited intercourse between the sexes, habits which are well 
known to check the progress of population wherever they prevail. 
Secondly, infanticide, which is very general, and practised to a 
great extent, especially amongst the younger and favourite 
women. Thirdly, diseases to which in a savage state youn^ 
children are peculiarly liable, such as dysentery, colds, and their 
consequences." f In this it is probable that Eyre has been to 
some extent mistaken. The effect of the ailment to which he 
refers^ according to statements gathered from a variety of quarters, 
was never so widely disseminated as his note would indicate. It is 
of course impossible to assert that it has not had some influence over 
the Aborigines, but proof is wanting that it has been sufficiently 
wide-spread to justify its being regarded as one of the primary 
causes of the dying out of the tribes. It is not known whence it 
was derived, or whether it existed amongst them before the 
advent of the Europeans. He states, however, as a fact, that in 
1841, when they assembled at Moorundi, there was but litiie 
sickness amongst them, but after visiting the town and some 
adjacent stations, they appeared to have contracted most horrible 
disorders. He describes certain appearances which are known to 
be produced fi'om other causes. It is remarkable that if the case 

* "Journals of ExpeditioiiB into Central Australia," by Ed. Jno. Eyre. Lond., 
Boone, 1845. 

t He adds this note: — ''Huio accedit, ex quo illis sunt immisti Europiei, lues 
venerea. Morbnm infantibua affiant et ingens moltitudo qnotannis inde perit." — 
VoL IL, p. 239. 


"was as irepresented by Eyre, the Narrinyeri tribe must have been 
particularly exposed to its influence, and it must have left its 
traces amongst them. Mr. Taplin, however, makes no mention of 
it» and he would scarcely be likely to pass over such a circum- 
stance if it existed. The natives of some tribes sufler from a sort 
of leprous or scrofulous disease, which exhibits many of the 
characteristics mentioned by Eyre, but this disorder seems to 
afflict individuals and not families. Gason, speaking of the Die- 
yerie tribe, describes a disease which produces large boils under 
the arms, in the groin, and on the breast and thighs, varying in 
size from that of a hen's egg to that of an emu's. It lasts for 
months and sometimes for years before it goes away. One com- 
plaint may thus have been, and not improbably was, mistaken for 
the other. A friend * first called the attention of the writer to 
-the existence of this malady. At the same time he mentioned 
what would seem to be a certain cure for it. He was present at 
Guiowie when a flock of sheep was being dipped for scab. A 
number of blacks congregated to witness the performance, and to 
get tobacco or whatever else could be obtained from the station. 
One of them was in a deplorable condition of suffering from this 
disease. By way of a joke, it was suggested that the blackfellow 
should be dipped like the sheep. He seemed delighted at the 
proposal, at once agreed to it, and was dipped accordingly. The 
dipping mixture was composed of water, soft soap, tobacco, and 
arsenic — the last in the proportion of one ounce to the gallon of 
water. After his bath, the patient left with his companions. In a 
short time he became ill, then worse, and finally so bad that it 
was doubtful whether he could survive. He lost his hair and his 
finger and toe-nails. By-and-bye he grew better, and then his 
skin came off*. He was described as presenting the appearance of a 
magpie during the time the process of decortication was going on. 
Eventually he got quite well, and when he revisited the station 
was in sound health. His hair had grown, and his skin was as 
smooth and as glossy as marble. He was completely cured. Other 
blacks who had heard of the circumstance came to Canowie and 

* Mr. F. MtfchAnt, formerly of Arkaba. 


begged to be dipped. The experiment, however, was too 
hazardous, and no one liked to risk a trial for murder or man- 
slaughter, if, as was by no means unlikely, a patient should die 
from the effects of the treatment. 

Other diseases are mentioned by Eyre, such as gout, rheumatism, 
inflammation of the bronchise, lungs and pleura. Phthisis is 
common, and erysipelas sometimes is met with. Scrofula has 
been seen, but seldom. A disease not unlike smallpox, and 
leaving similar traces on the face, has been heard of, but it is not 
believed to be the true variola, and it has not been seen for years. 
Any reliable account of the maladies incidental to the South 
Australian Aborigines cannot now be obtained. With the cessa- 
tion of the Protectorate of Aborigines as the function of a separate 
staff, all official interest in the native seems to have expired, and 
nothing now is done for them except periodically to give to them, 
through the mounted police, flour, tea, sugar, &;c., and even this 
modicum of generosity is administered in a loose and perfunctory 
manner, owing to the pressure of ^ore urgent duties on those who 
are in charge. 

Allusion has been made to customs, religious or otherwise, 
which have tended to destroy some of the tribes. One which is 
calculated, without actual homicide, to thin the race, exists 
amongst those who live to the westward throughout the Port 
Lincoln Peninsula, and as far at least as the head of the Great 
Australian Bight.* The details of this peculiar practice are ap- 
pended in a note. They can scarcely be recorded in English. 
How this horrible custom originated can only be a matter of 
conjecture. Probably it was intended to guard against too rapid 
an increase in districts when water is very scarce, and therefore 
the means of subsistence precarious and difficult to obtain.*!* 

* Now a port with a telegraph station. Discovered by Captain E. A. Delisser, 
late 79th Regiment. 

t Operationem hoc modo perficiont, os Walabii {Halmaturus) attennatom per 
niethnun immittunt illudque ad scrotum protmdunt ita at permeet camem. 
Scindnnt dein lapide acnto osqne ad glandem penis. Patet propagationem exind e 
difficile omnino evadere, si non plane impossibilenv Videtur propagationem 
omnem, qn»camqae inter aborigines hnjns modi obtinet, ex illis commixtionibos 
proficisci qa«e ante supra dicta matrimonia contingant. 



The prevalenoe of infanticide seems to have been due solely to 
tile desire to avoid the trouble of rearing children, and to enable 
the woman to follow her husband about in his wanderings, which 
she could not do if encumbered with a child. The first three or 
four are often killed, and no distinction appears to have been 
made between males and females. Half-caste children are almost 
always destroyed.* The practice prevailed long before the Euro- 
peans came to South Australia, and in one tribe (the Narrinyeri) 
more than half of the children bom were sacrificed in this way. 
One intelli^nt native woman is reported to have said, that if the 
Europeans had waited a few years more they would have found 
tiie country without inhabitants."!* What became of these little 

In some cases the bodies were burned, in others they were 
eaten. One instance at least is known to the writer, where the 
mother admitted that her infant had been eaten. Other cases 
have been mentioned, but are not sufficiently authenticated to 
justify special notice. Amongst the Dieyerie tribe cannibalism is 
the xmiversal practice, and all who die arc indiscriminately 
devoured. Amongst this tribe there are distinct rules as to those 
who are entitled to partake of the loathsome banquet. For 
instance, the mother eats the flesh of her children, and the children 
that of their mother. Brothers and sisters in law eat of each 
other's flesh, and the same privilege is allowed to uncles, aunts, 
nephews, nieces, grandfathers and mothers, as well as grand- 
children, who eat of each other. The only restriction 
seems to be that fathers do not eat the flesh of their own 
children, nor that of their fathers' children.^ Eyre gives 
it as his opinion that cannibalism is not common, but only 
occasionally practised by some tribes. He states, however, that 
to enable them to become sorcerers amongst the tribes around 
Adelaide, they have at one period to eat the flesh of young 
children, and at another that of an old man; but it does not 
appear to him that they partake of each kind more than once in 
their lifetime. That it is not common now, or rather that it does 

• Eyre. t Taplin, page 13. t Gason. 


not exist now amongst the tribes which frequently have inter- 
course with white people, may be believed; but since the practice 
is, or at any rate was, common (whether arising from want or due 
to vengeance) to all the coast tribes, and to most of those which 
have been met in the interior, there seems nothing to exclude the 
South Australian natives from the suspicion of a custom which, 
except as above mentioned, has been found to be universal 
amongst them. Captain Barker, who was lost at the Murray 
mouth, is believed to have been eaten by the natives.* With facts 
such as these on record, two causes of the extinction of the races 
are clearly established. The Europeans have had no hand in this; 
indeed, it is to their influence alone that these customs may be 
said to have been abandoned. 

The mortality from diseases, both prior to and subsequent to 
the settlement of the country, has done much to thin them out. 
Their notions of medicine, as amongst all savages, were of the 
most absurd nature. Amongst the Adelaide tribe the sorcerers 
were the physicians. All internal pains were supposed to arise 
from witchcraft, and were variously treated. Sometimes the 
blood was sucked out from the part affected, and sometimes a 
bone was supposed to be extracted from it by suction. On other 
occasions the disease was taken away in an invisible form, and 
either burnt or thrown into water. In other diseases the 
sufferer was stretched on the ground and pressed on the diseased 
part by the hands or feet of the operator, and cold water then 
sprinkled over it and green leaves applied.^ 

The natives are well acquainted with the use of bandages in 
cases of snake-bite. Bleeding is frequently resorted to to relieve 
headache. The operation is performed by opening a vein in the 
arm with a piece of sharp rock crystal or shell, in the same way 

* The Rev. J. E. Teniaon Woods (Discovery and Exploration of Australia. 
London : Sampson, Low, and Marston, IS65) says on this subject, '*He had been 
speared by two natives and took to the water to avoid them. Afterwards the 
mnrderers said they threw the body into the sea, but no one who knows the 
horrible habits of tJiese natives will believe that part of the story." (VoL I., pp. 

t Pro remedio, in plnribns morbis nrina feminie exteme applicata, in eximiA 
estimatione habetnv. 


as bleeding is resorted to amongst Europeans. Fractures are 
tieated with splints and bandages;* but amongst some tribes the 
injured limbs are straightened and then encased in a coating of 
day, which hardens and thus preserves the fracture from disturb- 
ance. In an instance related to the writer, the splints and bandages 
which had been applied to the broken leg of a native were removed 
when he was taken to his camp and the clay casing substituted. 
The same was done to a boy whose jaw had been fractured in 
fidling from a horse. His face was covered with a thick clay 
mask. Both cases resulted in a cure, without leaving traces of 
lameness or disfigurement. Ulcers are generally sprinkled with 
alkaline wood ashes and the astringent juices of the bark of trees 
and grasses. Cuts and wounds are generally left to cure them- 
selves, or are covered with clay to keep the air out; this, it is 
said, succeeds well. With such medical treatment it can hardly 
be expected that many recoveries take place, when illness is 
serious. Whenever any native becomes a burthen to his tribe 
by reason of infirmity or chronic sickness, he is abandoned by his 
fellows, and left to die. It is difficult to estimate the ages which 
the older people attain. Captain Grey and Mr. Eyre consider 
that they frequently live to seventy and even eighty years of age. 
OtherB, again, think that they scarcely go beyond forty. Many 
old men and tolerably old women used to be seen in the streets 
of Adelaide some years back, probably over fifty, or perhaps more; 
but none of them were decrepit or physically incapable of such 
exertions as the blacks are accustomed to make in their ordinary 
course of life. 

The treatment which the women experience must be taken into 
account in considering the causes which lead to the extinction of 
the native ti'ibes. Amongst them the woman is an absolute slave. 
She is treated with the greatest ci-uelty and indignity, has to do 
all laborious work, and to carry all the burthens. For the 
slightest offence or dereliction of duty, she is beaten with a waddy 
or a ysia stick, and not unfrequently speared. The records of 
the Supreme Coiut in Adelaide furnish numberless instances of 



blacks being tried for murdering their lubras. The woman's life 
is of no account if her husband chooses to destroy it, and no one 
ever attempts to protect or take her part under any circumstances. 
In tim&s of scarcity of food, she is the last to be fed, and the last 
considered in any way. That many of them die in consequence 
cannot be a matter of wonder, and as the natives generally do not 
marry the members of their own tribe, the loss of a child-bearing 
woman cannot be replaced. The condition of the women has no 
influence over their treatment, and a pregnant female is dealt 
with and is expected to do as much as if she were in perfect 
health. Within a very few hours after being delivered of a child, 
she moves about and goes to work as if nothing had happened to 
her. The condition of the native women is wretched and miser- 
able in the extreme; in fact, in no savage nation of which there 
is any record can it be worse. 

The wars which the tribes waged against each other, often in 
times gone by, caused a certain amount of mortality, but not so 
great as might generally be supposed. The South Australian 
Aborigines are fearless, but neither bloodthirsty nor ferocious. 
"Custom or example may sometimes lead them on to bloodshed, but 
it is usually in accordance with their prejudices or to gratify the 
momentary excitement of passion. With many vices and but few 
virtues, I do not think the Australian savage is more vicious in 
his propensities or more virulent in his passions than are the 
larger number of the lower classes of what are called ^civilised 
communities." This is Eyre's testimony, and his knowledge of 
the natives extended far beyond the limits of South Australia. 
The battles which take place between tribes usually occur about 
daybreak, or towards sunset in the evening. Whether it is on 
account of the light being more favourable than the intense glare 
of the day, or connected with some superstition, is unknown. 

The customary weapons are spears, waddies (clubs), boomerangs 
and wooden axes ; and some of the tribes employ shields. The 
spears are often barbed, some of the barbs being fastened on arti- 
ficially. These are made of sharp fragments of quartz and flints. 
The spear is propelled by a wommerah or throwing-stick, having 



at one end a kangaroo's tooth, fixed so as to fit into a notch at 
the end of the spear. This instrument gives an amount of 
leverage far beyond what could be exerted by unaided muscular 
strength. The fights are nearly always witnessed by the women 
and children of the tribe, and sometimes by other natives who 
are not concerned in the quarrel. They seldom last more than 
three or four hours. Few of those engaged are killed outright, 
bat the wounded are often numerous, and death from the wounds 
inflicted frequently occurs. The rude surgery practised amongst 
them is scarcely equal to the treatment of such dreadful injuries 
as are inflicted by barbed or even smooth spears, or to fractures 
of the skull, &C. Eyre states that the most fatal affrays are those 
which suddenly spring up between tribes which have been en- 
camped near each other on friendly terms — about the women, or 
in consequence of some death, which is always attributed to 
sorcery on the one side or the other. The fight in such cases 
usually takes place at night, after the body of the deceased has 
been buried. Then, in addition to clubs and spears, resort is had 
to fire-brands, and the wounds inflicted are frightful.* The 
males are always obliged to side with their blood relations and 
their own tribes. The women excite the men to fight, and carry 
their weapons for them. It does not seem that the women and 
children are ever killed after the battle is over. Hostile camps 
are sometimes surprised just before dawn, and the males there 
are slaughtered in cold blood whilst sleeping or drowsy. In such 
cases the attack is usually made under the belief that some 
individuals of the hostile tribe are great sorcerers, and have done 
much mischief to them. Their order of battle is commonly in 
line, or the warriors advance in the form of a crescent, biting 
their beards, spitting, throwing dust into the air, and shouting, 
and, sometimes, burning the grass, so as to destroy their adver- 
saries. These wars are not frequent, and cannot be regarded as 
a chief cause of the dying out of the natives. 

Having said so much on the subject of the native wars, it ia 
proper here to notice those attacks which were made by the 

• Eyre. 



Europeans on certain tribes in the neighbourhood of the Murray 
River, to punish them for murders committed upon helpless and 
-unoffending white people. The South Australian colonists 
happily cannot be accused of those dreadful crimes against the 
natives which disgrace the annals of the convict times in other 
colonies.* Such tales have foimd their records in other 
.places and may well be discarded hera Although the native 
people lived generally in amity with the first settlers, there 
were occasional murders perpetrated by the blacks upon isolated 
white men. In one case, where a shepherd had been attacked 
And killed by natives because he would not give them sheep, the 
colonists became exasperated, and were with difficulty restrained 
fn>» tometto, .umIt ve^^c. .gatai Mr Lr. triW 
This murder occurred within four or five miles of Adelaide. The 
murderers were never brought to justice. The ringleader, it is 
believed, was put to death by his own tribe, who found him both 
troublesome and dangerous to themselves. In 1838, the farig 
Fawny, from Hobart Town, bound for Western Australia, went 
ashore, and was wrecked a short distance east of the mouth of the 
Murray. The passengers and crew got to land, and were well 
received and kindly treated by the natives. It does not appear 
that they received any reward for their humanity. About the 
middle of 1840 news arrived in Adelaide that a vessel (the farig 
Maria) had been wrecked on the south coast, about three days' 
Journey from the mouth of the Murray River, and that all the 
survivors from the wreck had been murdered by the natives. A 
party was sent out under Lieutenant PuUen, KN. (now Admiral), 
to visit the spot, and investigate the matter. After a compaia- 
tively brief search, the party found the dead bodies of several 
men, women, and children. They were partially buried in the 
sand, and the flesh had been completely stripped off the bones of 
one of them — a woman. No doubt it had been eaten. Natives 
were found in possession of the clothes and blankets of the 
murdered people, and bonnets and shawls which had belonged to 

* *' Theny's RemimBcenoes of New South Wales." Lond. 1863, p. 271 ei teq. 


the women. On receipt of Lieutenant Pullen's report, the 
Governor, Colonel Gawler, organised a strong party under Major 
O'HaUoran, Commissioner of Police, to proceed to punish the 
offenders. Their country was in that part of the south coast 
known as Lacepede Bay. The tribe was but little known, but 
was described as being remarkable for ferocity. The party 
croesed the mouth of the Murray on the 21st August, 1840, and 
on the following day captured thirteen men, two lads, and about 
fiffy women and children. The men were detained, but the others 
were at once set free. All of them had something of the ship^ 
wreeked party's property, and some of the clothes recovered from 
tbem were saturated with blood. After some trouble, two more 
blades were taken, and on the following morning were tried by 
QO«urt martial for the murders, of which seventeen had been com- 
mitted. Two of the blacks, Mongarawata and Pilgarie, were 
fimnd guilty, and sentenced to death. They were hanged on the 
fdlowing day, in the presence of a large number of the tribe, who 
were considerably impressed with the proceedings. This politic 
aet of summary vengeance was done imder the authority of 
Colonel Gawler, then Governor, and it had an excellent effect 
upon the tribe. Yet the Governor was much blamed in £ngland 
for his share in the transaction. As a matter of fact it was 
illegal, but it was far more merciful to the blacks themselves, and 
psoduced a fax more lasting impression upon them, than if they 
had been brought to Adelaide and tried in due form of law. 
Savages cannot be made to understand the value of civilised legal 
procedure. What is wanted with regard to them is a means of 
bringing them speedily and summarily to justice; and when they 
seriously offend, whatever pimishment may be awarded to them 
should be so inflicted as to come directly under the notice of the 
other blacks; for severity is not so much a requirement as 
certainty and example. Some years ago a law was passed which 
required that blacks convicted of murdering whites should be 
executed in the presence of their tribes, as near as possible to the 
scene of the crime. The operation of this law has been effectual, 
and now many years have elapsed since any murder of white 


persons has been committed by the natives within the limits of 
South Australia. 

About nine months after the murders at Maria Creek, a party 
•coming overland with sheep were attacked by the Rufus tribe of 
blacks, in the neighbourhood of the north-west bend of the River 
Murray. Mr. Inman, who was in charge, and two others, were 
•dangerously wounded, the whites dispersed, and all the sheep, 
about 7000, captured by the blacks. An expedition, under the 
•command of Major O'Halloran, was sent against them; but, after 
being absent for several days, it was recalled, and returned with- 
out having seen any of the tribes. The recall took place in 
'Consequence of the censures which had been passed upon the 
Oovemor on account of the execution of the two Milenmura 
natives for the Maria Creek murders. Immediately on their 
return, a volunteer party was formed under the command of 
Lieut. Field, R.N., to endeavour to recover some of the stolen 
property. After an arduous journey of nine days, they came 
upon a body of natives between 200 and 300 strong. The 
natives immediately attacked them, advancing on in a sort of 
half-moon, and trying to surround the small party. The white 
people got away with difficulty, but not until some of the blacks 
(eight it is stated) had been shot. Three of the horses were 
speared, and one was killed. A third expedition was then 
organised, consisting of mounted police, volunteers, &c. The 
new Governor, Captain Grey, only permitted the volunteers to go 
as special constables, and the leader of the party was instructed 
*' not to levy war, nor to exercise any belligerent actions" against 
the offenders. After travelling three weeks, a white man met 
them. He was one of the survivors of a fresh party of travellers 
which had been attacked, and their cattle (700) stolen. Three 
of his companions had been killed, and the person in charge 
badly wounded. The bodies were afterwards found; one of them 
horribly mutilated. The head had been battered to pieces, the 
body had been opened, and all the viscera, with the kidney-fat * 

• The natives smear themselves over with this substance, though for what 
puriMwo iH not known. 


taken away, and little green branches had been placed in 
his hands. All attempts to capture the natives failed, though 
nearly all the cattle were recovered, and the party returned to 
Adelaide. From reports that reached Adelaide with regard to 
the attitude of the tribes which had done so much mischief, and 
which rendered it dangerous in the extreme for persons travelling 
with stock, another expedition was sent out under Sub-Inspector 
Shaw, with twenty-nine men, to meet some persons who were 
coming overland, and to protect them from the natives. They 
were met in the country of the hostile natives. They had been 
attacked, but had defeated their assailants with a loss of about 
fifteen. A few days afterwards the new expedition was attacked 
by the troublesome tribes. They had refused all overtures of 
friendship, and were determined, confident, no doubt, in their 
numbers, to possess themselves of all the white men's efi*ects. 
The engagement lasted about a quarter of an hour, and about 
thirty of the natives were killed, and some ten wounded. When 
the expedition returned to Adelaide an investigation was held, 
and the expeditionary party exonerated from all blame; and, 
according to the recommendation of the bench of magistrates, 
before whom the inquiry was conducted, Mr. Eyre was appointed 
Protector of Aborigines at Moonmdi, and police magistrate for 
the protection of persons travelling with stock.* 

These affrays have been mentioned in some detail because they 
were the mast important and most disastrous to the native tribes 
which have occurred in this colony. They will serve to show 
that active hostilities against the denizens of the soil have had 
but a small share in the circumstances which have helped to 
bring about the disappearance of the Aborigines. After the 
chastisement above mentioned had been inflicted upon them, the 
overland journey through the bush to the other colonies became 
safe, and no further outrages are recorded. The dying out of the 
tribes must, therefore, be ascribed to circumstances other than 
those which have been enumerated. That some of them in course 
of time would have brought the races to an end, is highly pro- 

* " Recollections of Coloniid Life,'' by J. W. Bull. AdeUide, 1S78, passim. 


bable, but not in the time in which their disappearance ha» 
occarred. Opinions differ to some extent as to whether such 
institutions as those at Pooraindie and at Point Madeay might, 
not, if established at the outset of the European occupation, have 
been successful in reducing the natives to a condition of civilisa- 
tion. With great respect for the views of those who hold this- 
theorf , the writer deems that the attempt would have been futile. 
The whites for some years were not sufficient in number nor in 
influence to bring the bulk of the natives within the sco{>e of their, 
customs. There was, in fact, neither the means nor the machinery 
for it. The difficulties which are encountered, even now,* from, 
the old men of such tribes as are under control, were paramount- 
then, and they would have resisted, as a whole, what they 
sometimes now successfully resist in detail. The process of ex- 
termination, in fact, began as soon as the white men took 
possession of the soil. The fencing in and occupation of the 
territory deprived the natives of the wild animals which consti- 
tuted the principal part of their daily food. Kangaroos, emus, 
&C., were killed and driven further back into places where they 
could remain undisturbed. The wild-fowl were scared away by 
the fire-arms of the settlers. The destruction of the trees con- 
sequent upon the clearing of the ground for tillage, drove away 
the opossums, and left little shelter for parrots and other winged 
creatures which resorted to them, and the people who had been 
disappointed were thrown back on the himting grounds of their 
neighbours, or compelled to become dependent on the bounty of 
the white men. In the former case, wars and murders according 
to tribal customs were inevitable; in the latter, unaccustomed 
food, clothing, strong drinks, the use of tobacco, and other things 
wholly unsuited to the condition of savages, made a change in 
their mode of life which they could not survive. The authorities 
who were first called upon to administer the affairs of South 
Australia did not recognise the fact that distinct territorial rights 
existed amongst the native inhabitants. Each tribe had its own 
coimtry distinct from that of any other tribe. Its boundaries 

^ See Taplin. 


were known, and could have been accurately defined. The right 
of occupying, parcelling out and disposing of the soil, was asserted 
as the first principle of the colonisation of the country, without 
the slightest regard to any rights, except those which were 
exercised by the Crown. Without the land the aboriginal native 
could not exist; the land was taken from him and he ceased to 
exist In order to provide a substitute for the large territory 
which melted from him imperceptibly almost, and certainly 
without any power of prevention on his part, it would have been 
necessary to restrain his wandering habits, to make him indus- 
trious and sensible alike of the value as well as the advantage of 
accumulating something. This has not been done up to the 
present day, and in spite of all that has been attempted in the 
shape of christianising and teaching them, the best of the natives 
who are left are still savage, but only less savage than their f ore- 
fathers, because their country no longer offers the scope for their 
pristine barbarism. It has been urged that if special tracts of 
country had been set apart for the occupation of the natives, 
the race might have been preserved. A little consideration 
will show this to rest on a slender foundation only. For an 
immense territory like that of South Australia, the native 
population was remarkably small, and, in their own estimation, 
not calculated to maintain any large increase in numbers. 
Their customs of mutilation, infanticide and cannibalism, lessened, 
and were no doubt intended to prevent, the growth of the tribes. 
The marriage customs operated in the same way. It seems, 
therefore, an inevitable conclusion, that if the tribes had been 
restricted to more circumscribed areas in which to live than 
had been the case before the white men came, the process of 
extinction would have been carried on faster amongst themselves, 
or else they must have become, as they did become, dependent on 
the whites, with the results which have already overtaken them. 
The Anglo-Saxon colonists of South Australia are perhaps not 
more to blame for the catastrophe than are other races of men 
who have supplanted savages in their bii*th-places. The procesa 
seems to be invariably the same everywhere. The land is th^ 


prize for which emigrants leave their homes, and in no cases that 
are known have aboriginal races been able to survive its loss. It 
must be borne in mind that the white settlers arrived here 
without any experience of the Aborigines. The settlement of 
New South Wales could have been no guide to them, and when 
experience of their habits and customs was gained, the cardinal 
mischief had so far advanced as to render all attempts at saving 
the remnant of the people a hopeless task. No process that the 
writer can imagine could have averted the fate which seems 
inevitably to hang over all uncivilised nations when they are 
brought into contact with Europeans. The process seems to go 
on everywhere, with such unvarying certainty as to bear strongly 
c'^ the impress of a fixed law. In those cases where a mixture of 
the races takes place (and in Australia this would be impossible), 
the characteristics of the dominant race prevail, and the inferior 
race becomes eventually lost. 

From the testimony of various writers who have described the 
Aborigines in different parts of Australia, there does not appear to 
be any very material difference in the manners and customs of the 
tribes, wherever they may be located. Their method of killing 
kangaroos and other wild animals is everywhere the same. The 

character. The descriptions, therefore, that are given by the 
writers whose accounts of a few of the tribes constitute the 
present volume, will afford a tolerably accurate notion of what 
Australian savages are. As Mrs. Macarthur described them in 
1792,* they remain to this day: — "A singular race, utterly 
ignorant of the arts .... They are brave and warlike, and 
towards all but those who become their friends, vindictive, and 
even treacherous, using art where force is unavailing. All 
endeavours to train them to habits of social life are unavailing, 
for although by education their children readily learn to read and 
write, they invariably return to their original wild habits when 
old enough to provide for themselves." The general experience 
of those who have had much intercourse with them in this portion 

* Therry. See also Eyre aud Grey. 


of Australia is precisely the same. Native children brought up 
amongst the settlers, quite away from their tribes and beyond the 
reach of their influence, almost always, and without apparent 
cause, leave their civilised protectors and rejoin the native camps. 
No matter what degree of culture they may have received 
amongst the whites, once back in the native camp they become 
quite as savage as if they had never quitted it. The Australian 
native is not industrious. He will hunt or fish when hunger 
prompts him, or perhaps sometimes for the sake of excitement, 
but by nature he is indolent, leaving all hard work to the 
females, who on their part do nothing they are not actually com- 
pelled to do. The contrast between a life of restraint and 
exertion and one of the most complete liberty is too great for a 
savage to show a marked preference for the former. At large, he 
can eat, drink, and sleep when and where he likes; amongst 
civilised people he cannot be his own master, but is constrained 
to live by rules which are foreign to his instincts and to his 

While the general customs of the natives show a remarkable 
similarity all over the continent, the ceremonies they practise 
amongst themselves vary gi-eatly in different places. In the 
limited space available in an introductory chapter, it will be 
impossible to do more than glance at them generally. Circum- 
cision is common in the northern, western, and southern parts of 
the continent. In the south, south-east, and east, it is un- 
known.* The same thing occura with regard to the practice of 
tatooiug, each tribe that resorts to it having its own destinctive 
marks. "Some are marked all over the back and breast; some 
only on one half of each, others have rings or semicircles round 
the upper parts of the arms, and some are tatooed on the belly.""f* 
The woman whose back is to be tatooed is taken out early in the 
morning and squatted on the ground, with her back towards the 
operator (always a male). Her head is then bent down between 
the knees of a strong old woman who is sitting on the ground for 
the purpose. The operator then takes hold of a fold of the flesh 

• Eyre. t IbUl. 


on the right side with his left hand, and with the right cuts 
gashes about an inch long, half an inch apart, and 3-16ths of an 
inch deep. The blood as it flows is wiped away with tufls 
of grass. Whilst the operation is proceeding, the mother and 
other female relations lament and mourn and lacerate their 
bodies with shells.* Sometimes the victims resist, and escape 
before the work is complete; but generally the girls are anxious 
to be marked, as the scars are supposed to increase their 
personal attractions. Amongst the Adelaide tribe, it is stated 
on the authority of the late Dr. Moorhouse, formerly Pro- 
tector of Aborigines, that before a native can become a man 
he must pass through five diflerent stages. The first is 
from his birth to his tenth year, when he is- inducted 
into the second by being covered over with blood drawn from 
the arm of a man. Between the ages of twelve and fourteen the 
rite of circumcision introduces him into the third stage. The 
operation is performed with a sharp stone or shell, the youth 
being led away to some distance from the women and children, 
who are not allowed to be present. The operation is attended by 
strange ceremonies, too numerous to be described here, and after 
it is over the young lad is kept away from the presence of all 
females and fed upon a vegetable diet until he has quite recovered. 
His head is daubed over with grease and red ochre, and encircled 
with a bandage ornamented with tufts of feathers. The fourth 
stage is entered upon at the age of twenty, when his back, 
shoulders, arms, and breasts are tatooed. The fifth stage is not 
attained until he is becoming grey-headed. All of these rites 
are performed with much mystery, and women are carefully 
excluded from witnessing them. Amongst many of the tribes the 
ceremony of introducing a native into manhood is said to be 
accompanied with some horrible and disgusting practices. The 
funeral ceremonies difier in almost every tribe. Amongst the 
Adelaide blacks the body is at once wrapped up in the garments 
worn during life, and in a day or two placed upon a circular 
bier formed of the branches of trees. It is then carried upon 

• Eyre. 



ihe shoulders of some five or six persons to the places where 

tbe deceased had been living. Another native is hidden under 

the bier, who seems to be in communication with the corpse. 

He inquires who it was that killed him. If the answer is "no 

one/' the inquiry ceases; but if the reply is that some person has, 

the bier moves round, the corpse being supposed to produce the 

motion, aided by ''Kuingo," a fabulous personification of death. 

If the alleged murderer be present, the bier is carried round by 

the supposed agency of " Kiungo," so that one of the branches 

touches him. Upon this a battle takes place either immediately, or 

in a day or two.* The body, when removed from the bier, is laid in 

a grave, from four to six feet deep, with the head to the west. The 

same author states that children under four years are not buried 

for some months aiter death. They are carefully wrapped up and 

carried about by the mothers in the daytime, and made to serve 

the purpose of pillows at night until they become perfectly dried 

up, when they are buried — whether with any special ceremonies 

or not is unknown. The descriptions of Mr. Taplin and Mr. 

Meyer will show other modes of disposing of the dead. As already 

stated on the occasion of a death in the Dieyerif tribe, the 

relatives of the deceased devour the flesh of the dead, and then 

smear themselves over with charcoal and fat, making a black 

ring round the mouth. The women paint, in addition, two white 

stripes on their arms. The other members of the tribe daub 

themselves over with white clay as a sign of mourning. Some of 

the tribes light fires at the graves. At a native burial-ground, on 

Uie banks of the Torrens, the writer has frequently seen them. The 

fire-sticks were arranged in the following form A , the lighted 

ends pointing towards each other: arranged in this way they 

bum for a long time. After a death takes place in a tribe the 

name of the deceased is never mentioned. All over the continent 

this singular custom prevails, and the feeling is so strong in 

South Australia that the tribes change the names of any places 

or objects after which the deceased has been called. Almost all 

deaths are supposed to be caused by witchcraft or sorcery, and in 

• Eyre. t Gason. 


these cases vengeance is invariably taken on the offending tribe. 
A curious instance of sorcery and its effects upon the native 
imagination was brought to light recently in the Supreme Court 
of Adelaide, on the trial of a black for the murder of another 
named Chunkey. This Chunkey was one, who, contrary to the 
custom of his race, had accumulated some money, and had become 
the proprietor of a dray and some bullocks with which he 
followed the calling of a carrier. This effect of civilisation had 
not, however, weaned him from the influence of the common 
savage customs; for he had at different times carried off three 
women as wives from another tribe. A man belonging to the 
Bimbowrie tribe endeavoured to rescue the women; but, in doing 
so, was put imder enchantment by Chunkey, who pointed a 
human bone at him. This bone is generally part of the femur, 
scraped to a point, smeared with red-ochre and human kidney-fat. 
and having a ball of fat and ochre rolled together at one end. 
The natives believe that if this is pointed at any member of a 
tribe, nothing on earth can save the victim from death. They are 
so convinced of this, that immediately it is done his spirits droop, 
he becomes melancholy, his appetite fails, and gradually he pines 
away and dies. Such an act of witchcraft is never forgiven. 
Chunkey was pursued for nearly two years, and was eventually 
overtaken and killed by the friends of the enchanted victim. The 
murder was discovered in consequence of the murderers being 
found in possession of the dead man's property and his wives. 
The murderers were sentenced to death, but the sentence was 
commuted to one of imprisonment. It was proved on the trial 
that amongst the northern tribes a blackfellow who was known 
to have pointed the bone at another would be pursued for 500 
miles, in order that revenge might be taken upon him for the 

The ideas of religion possessed by the blacks are very indistinct, 
besides being ridiculous and contradictory. Dr. Moorhouse found 
that the Adelaide tribe believed in a spirit distinct from the body, 
which after death went away to a large pit in the west, where all 
souls of deceased persons are sent. They further believed that 


when all the men in the world were dead, their souls would 
return to the scenes of their former lives, visit the graves of their 
forsaken bodies, and ask whether those were the bodies they had 
formerly inhabited. The bodies would reply, " We are not dead, 
but still living." They considered that souls and bodies would 
not be re-united, but the former would live in trees during the 
day, and at night alight on the ground and feed on grubs, lizards, 
frogs, and kangaroo-rats, but on no vegetable matter whatever. 
The souls, it was believed, would not die again, but would remain 
on earth, about the size of a boy eight years old.* All the natives 
entertain great dread of evil spirits, and those who lived in the 
neighbourhood of Adelaide never moved about at night. In other 
parts of the colony they would not do so without carrying fire- 
sticks with them, except on moonlight nights. 

With r^ard to marriage, the practices of the natives have 
already been alluded to. Amongst the Adelaide tribes polygamy 
existed universally, the old men possessing from one to four 
wives, or as many as they could obtain. The young females were 
bartered away by the old men for wives for themselves or their 
sons. The wives were the absolute property of their husbands, 
and were given away, exchanged, or lent, as their owners thought 
fit. The female children were generally betrothed at about 
twelve years of age, or even younger. Relatives nearer than 
cousins did not intermarry, and even these very rarely. Female 
orphans belonged to the nearest male relative, as did also widows. 
No ceremony attended marriages; the woman was simply ordered 
to take her bag and join the camp of the man on whom she was 
bestowed. No age was fixed for the marriage of the males, but 
under twenty-five they seldom obtained wives, although occasion- 
ally youths of seventeen or eighteen possessed them. As wives 
got old, they were often cast off by their husbands, or given to 
young men in exchange for their sisters or other relations at 
their dis|K)sal. Marriage was not looked upon as any pledge of 
chastity, and no such vii-tue was recognised ; " but little real 
affection consequently existed between husbands and wives, 

• Eyro. 


and young men valued their wives principally for their services 
as slaves.* 

The natives of South Australia had many amusements, but 
they were generally such as bore upon their future pursuits. 
Young boys had light spears, muffled at the ends with grass, with 
which they had fights in play, and objects were cast along the 
ground to represent animals in motion for them to spear at. 
They had besides these the songs and dances of the adults. 
The principal dance is common all over the continent, and 
" corrobboree*' is the name by which it is commonly known. In 
Mr. Taplin's diary he mentions one that took place on Lake 
Alexandiina, at the time of the visit of ELR.H. the Duke of 
Edinburgh. The writer was present, and furnished the official 
account of the Royal visit to the colony, from which the following 
description is extracted: — 

'' At a little past nine the corrobboree began. The men 
wore no clothes, except girdles round their loins, and they 
were painted in the most extraordinary manner — some with 
bands of white round their bodies and limbs, like the stripes of a 
zebra, others were dotted over with white spots, others with 
regular white streaks from the hips to the feet, with extraordinary 
devices on the breast and back ; all had their faces painted ; a 
great many of them had scars on their backs, which form some 
distinguishing mark of the various tribes. They are caused by 
incisions made in the flesh with sharp stones or shells, and 
treated afterwards in such a way that when they heal up 
they leave prominent ridges quite a third of an inch in 
height above the surface of the body, and from an inch and a 

* Eyre. The following is an extract from one of his notes : ** Feminae sese per totam 
vitam pene prostituunt. Apud plnrimas tribus juventutem utrinsqae sexus sine 
diflcrimine concumbere in usus est. Si jnvenis forte indigenorom csetum qnendam 
in castris manentem adveniat ubi qasevis sit puella innupta mos est, nocte veniente 
et cubantibns omnibus illam ex loco exsurgere et juvenem accedentem cam illo per 
noctem manere unde in sedem propriam ante diem redit. Cui feminae sit earn 
amicis libenter preebet, si in itinere sit axori in castris manenti aliquis ejus supplet 

ille vires. " He mentions other customs, but the above will soffioe 

to show the general tone of morals among the Aborigines, and the difficulties that 
would interpose in the way of attempts at civilising them. 


half to two inches in length. Most of the men had spears, 
waddies, and boomerangs, and some few of them shields. These 
are about two feet long, nine inches wide in the centre, tapering 
off to a point at either end. They have only one handle, placed 
transversely across the middle of the back, and are used for 
warding off spears as they are thrown. They are made of hard 
wood, and are rudely carved on the face. 

"When the royal party arrived at the scene of action the dancers 
were seen lying on their backs on the ground in an irregular line, 
and perfectly motionless. The women were seated on the ground 
chanting their peculiar chant, and beating time with their hands 
on rugs made of opossum-skins folded on their laps, whilst some 
of the men accompanied them in their chant with an instru- 
mental performance produced by knocking sticks together. After 
a few moments, the wild chorus seemed to wake the blackfellows 
into life. First their feet began to quiver — then they raised their 
right legs so as to rest the feet upon their left knees — the left 
legs were then gradually drawn up, and, after rising to a sitting 
posture, the men suddenly started to their feet, and broke into a 
strange antic-dance. Their voices then swelled the song of the 
women, and their action was carried on in the most admirable 
time. They moved with as much ease and regularity as well- 
drilled soldiers, apparently adapting their movements to the 
words which formed the burden of their song. As each part of 
the dance came to an end, they gathered together in a crowd, and, 
after brandishing their weapons in a way by no means agreeable 
to those who were not acquainted with their peaceful nature, 
gave vent to a long, deep, protracted ugh ! in an inexpressibly 
comic maimer. 

" It is not quite clear what a corrobboree is intended to signify. 
Some think it a war-dance — others that it is a representation of 
their hunting expeditions — others, again, that it is a religious, or 
pagan, observance; but on this even the blacks themselves give 
no information. 

" A corrobboree never takes place except on a bright moonlit 

night — ^for Uie natives have a great objection to moving about in 



the dark. Seen as they were in the moonlight, daubed with paint — 
shrieking and contorting themselves into postures that defy descrip- 
tion — it was difficult almost to regard them as human beings." 

The food of the South Australian tribes, in their wild state, 
included an immense variety. Animals, birds, fishes, reptiles, 
insects, grubs, seeds, and roots, were alike prized by them; and 
from the fertility of the Adelaide plains and the surrounding 
country, the supply, for the numbers of natives which occupied 
them before the white settlement, must have been practically un- 
limited. In addition to the above, honey, white ants, and eggs, 
gave them variety at all seasons of the year. Their cookery was 
rude. Flesh was cooked in holes filled with hot stones, covered 
with wet grass. Small animals were thrust whole into hot ashes. 
When cooked, the entrails were let out through an incision in the 
abdomen, and the game was eaten hot. Sometimes fishes were 
encased in clay and then baked in hot ashes. Snakes were broiled 
upon embers, but the blacks would rarely partake of the flesh of 
any snake, unless killed by themselves. Their mode of dressing 
their food would scarcely tempt any one who was not in a state 
of semi-starvation, though those who have partaken of it speak 
well of it. Having no houses, and no permanent dwellings, they 
could lay up no store, so virtually they lived from hand to mouth, 
each day, except at certain seasons, providing for its own 

Special kinds of food were forbidden to women altogether, and 
to youths who had not been made men. The women, in aU cases, 
came badly off", when they depended upon what the men of the 
tribes chose to give them; but as, in many cases, they were sole 
providers, doubtless they took good care of themselves. They 
were most voracious in their appetites, and gorged themselves to 
a most disgusting state of repletion. In Eyre's account of his 
journey from Adelaide to Western Australia he gives an account 
of a meal made by a native who accompanied him» which may 
be looked upon with something more than wonder. After a eon- 
siderable time of privation, Wylie (the native boy) shot a young 
kangaroo, large enough for two good meals; ''upon this we 



feasted at nighty and for once Wylie admitted that his belly 
was f alL He commenced by eating a pound and a-half of horse- 
flesh and a little bread; he then ate the entrails, paunch, liver, 
lights, and the two hind legs of the young kangaroo; next followed 
a penguin that he had found dead upon the beach. Upon this 
he forced down the whole of the hide of the kangaroo after 
singing the hair off, and wound up this meal by swallowing the 
tough skin of the penguin. He then made a little fire and lay 
down to sleep."* The strange part of the tale is, that he was 
none the worse for the gorge, which, in the condition Eyre and 
his men were in, might have been expected to make him seriously 
ilL It shows, however, what a savage can accomplish in the 
way of voracity. 

On the subject of the dialects in use amongst the Aborigines of 
the continent, a strong resemblance amongst them is said to 
prevail In many places, however, one tribe is unable to under- 
stand another tribe, and as far as intercourse between them goes, 
such dissimilarity prevails as almost to lead to the inference that 
the different tribes spoke totally different languages. In effect 
they do, but it has been established with a reasonable degree of 
certainty from analogies and other circumstances, for which there 
is no space here, that the forms of speech sprung, as the natives 
did, from one soui'ce, and that the modifications and variations 
which have taken place are due entirely to special circumstances. 
If the natives had possessed the art of writing, even in the most 
mde or symbolic form, the question would not need discussion, 
but they have nothing of the kind. They have not marked any 
single thing with which they have been connected or associated 
with any trace of permanence, and when the races have faded out, 
nothing more than the mere fact that blacks once lived in certain 
places remains behind. A more complete and utter obliteration of 
a people, as fieur as it has gone, has scarcely occurred within the 
scope of the world s history. 

For those who have an interest in the subject of the native 
languages, the papers which follow this Introduction will be found 

• Eyre, Vol. II., pp. 42^. 



full of iiiformation. Without wishing to censure those who 
niled the province in its early days, it seems astonishing, in a 
scientific age, to find that nothing was done officially to preserve 
the native tongue from extinction, and that what has been done, 
haa been done as a labour of love, by private individuals, without 
other encouragement than that which the love of science for its 
own sake could afford. At this period it is unavailing, even to 
deplore the fact; but publications, such as those which are now 
coming before the world relating to the Australian Aborigines, 
might and ought to form incentives to the different Governments 
to take measures to preserve some official * memorials of those 
tribes which ai*e still living in the interior. If the natives of this 
continent, or even a portion of them, had been as united as the 
New Zealanders, a different tale would have been told. The task 
of colonising the countiy would not have been as easy as it has 
been ; and if it had become necessary to deprive them of their 
lands by conquest, or to gain them by purchase, their heroism or 
acuteness would have invested them with an interest and import- 
ance which would have forced their natural claims no less than 
those pertaining to science upon the attention of the superior 
race, and of those by whom they were governed. 

The similarity which has been alluded to as prevailing all 
through the continent amongst the natives in language, manners, 
and customs, is observable also in their physical characteristics. 
When any marked departure from the general type is seen, it 
may be attributed to the abundance or scarcity of food. Those 
who live in the neighbourhood of rivers and lakes, where game of 
all kinds is plentiful, are the most robust. The physique of the 
native iis always better in such localities than it is in those tracts 
of country where water, vegetation, and animals are scarce. As a 
rule, the male is strong and well-built, and between five and six 
feet in height. The forehead is broad and the mouth wide, the 
nose flat, the eyes brUliant and piercing, though somewhat deeply 
set in the head ;* the hands and feet are moderately sized and 
well-shaped, but the calves of the legs and the muscles of the 

* Professor Owen gives the fauial ouglu as 85 degrees. 



thighs are not strongly developed. The lips are rather thick, but 
different altogether from those of the African black. The teeth 
are beautifully regular, but the incisors are not sharp, like those 
of the European, but flat, and not unlike molars. The trunk of 
the body is well-shaped, and the chest is generally both broad 
and deep. The hair is black and glossy, and when not disfigured 
by the disgusting pigments with which it is too frequently 
smeared, is really beautiful. The carriage is erect, and the gait 
marked with an elegance and grace peculiar to the race. The 
features of the men are certainly not handsome in any sense of 
the word, but the women, except in rare instances, or amongst 
young girls, are almost hideous. They reach the height of about 
five feet Their frames are not so well developed as those of the 
males. The poor creatures, however, are always seen to a dis- 
advantage, being, as before mentioned, the slaves of their 
husbands and of the tribes. 

In intellectual capacity the Aborigines seem to occupy a low 
position in the scale of humanity. They do not seem to have 
descended from a higher condition of civilisation, for there are no 
traces of any such transition anywhere; nor, on the other hand, is 
there the slightest evidence that they have advanced in any degree 
from their primal condition. In fact, they seem to be incapable of 
any permanent improvement, for none of those to whom the bene- 
fits of civilisation have been made familiar have ever adopted them 
when beyond the white man's control They seem to be like 
children. Their brain seems to be only partially developed, and 
they cannot be instructed beyond a certain point. The writer is 
aware that others who have had intimate acquaintance with the 
Aboriginal tribes hold somewhat different views. They have 
been considered by Captain Grey at least "as able and intelligent 
as any other race of men that I am acquainted with." Others, 
however, have formed a much lower estimate of their powers. 
Their perceptive faculties are great, and this is evidenced by 
their wonderful skill as trackers in the bush. All that has been 
written of the skill and cunning of the American Indian as an 
enemy or as a hunter does not exceed, even if it equals, those of 


the Australian. Their manufactures are of the rudest kind, being 
confined to mats, coarse nets, bark canoes, and the weapons for 
hunting and war. No attempt at any textile fabric has been 
known to be made by them, nor do the scions of a tribe ever 
transcend the skill or invention manifested by the elder 
branchea Like birds, each constructs its nest upon one pattern, 
which never varies from generation to generation. They are, 
indeed, a stiunge people. Without a history, they have no past; 
without a religion, they have no hope ; and without habits of 
forethought or providence, they can have no future. Their doom 
is sealed, and all that the civilised man can do, now that the 
process of annihilation is so rapidly overtaking the Aborigines of 
Australia, is to take care that the closing hour shall not be 
hurried on by want, caused by culpable neglect on his part. 


Kkitsuioton, South Australia, 
SepUmber, 1878. 



%n Recount of ij^t Crtbts of Siiotxi^g ^ustraltan Aborigines 










When I came to this colony in 1849, my attention was attracted 
by the camps of Aborigines on the Adelaide Park Lands, and I 
felt a desire to try to do something for their spiritual and tem- 
poral welfieure; but years were to pass away before that desire 
oould be gratified 

Twenty years ago I was led to take up my residence near what 
is now the town of Port Elliot. The natives came about our 
house from the neighbouring camps, and I soon found that both 
men and women were useful and friendly. A severe winter 
came on, when food was scarce, and I felt it my duty to go to the 
native worleys. which were close at hand, and see if I could do 
anything for their inhabitants. I found that I could do very 
little indeed, but I think that a bond of sympathy and kindly 
feeling was created between myself and the natives. Notwith- 
standing the personal helplessness which I felt, I was constrained 
from that time to earnestly, and I think prayei-fuUy, consider if 
anything could be done for their welfare. 

In 1858 I heard that an association for the purpose of 
befriending the Aborigines had been begun by some good people 
in Adelaide. I wrote to the honorary secretary, stating my 
views of the steps which ought to be taken if we would do our 
duty to this people, but nothing came of it at that time. Twelve 
months after, I was led again to write to the committee of the 
Aborigines' Friends' Association, and I was soon after appointed 
to be their missionary agent. The results which, by the grace of 
God, flowed from that appointment will be seen in the following 


I think it has been now proved that the Aborigines of 
Australia are not altogether in a hopeless case. We may hope 
that the (jospel of Christ will be the means of saving a remnant 
from extinction. I am sure that if such a result is likely to be 
brought about, it will rejoice the hearts of many of their kind- 
hearted friends in these colonies. Weak and insufficient as the 
instrumentality employed has been — and I have often wondered 
why it was used, and why some abler servant of Christ had not 
been chosen — ^yet, feeble as it has been, surely the end proves 
that the excellency of the power was of God. 

The writer would take this opportunity of gratefully acknow- 
ledging the generous assistance which he has received during the 
fourteen years of his missionary work from the various honorary 
officers of the Aborigines' Friends' Association of this colony. 
He feels that he cannot too highly estimate the value of the aid 
which their wise counsel and sympathy have affi)rded him. 

Great credit is also due to the Aborigines' Department of the 
South Australian (jovernment for the humane consideration 
which it has always shown for the wants of the natives. 

The writer would also acknowledge the valuable help which he 
has received from the Rev. F. W. Cox, who kindly revised the 
following pages, and to whom it is to be attributed that they 
contain no greater defects than appear thereon. 


PouYT Macleat, March 31, 1873. 


After the first edition of " The Narrinyeri " was exhausted, 
the author received many inquiries for copies from persons who 
take an interest in the Aborigines. This led him to the conclu- 
sion that a second edition might meet with acceptance, especially 
as the first found a kind and indulgent reception, as he cannot 
help thinking, beyond its merits. There cannot be any doubt 
that the benevolent interest in the welfare of the natives which 
has been manifested in past years, both by the public and the 
press, has not abated. There is therefore a great deal to encourage 
us to venture upon another edition. 

The reader will find that some additions have been made to the 
book. An account has been given of the Aboriginal Council, 
called the Tendi, by which the clans of the Narrinyeri are 
governed. Some friends of the Mission complained that the 
history of the Mission at Point Macleay was too short, and 
expressed their desire that more incidents had been related. An 
attempt has been made to supply this deficiency by inserting 
some extracts fit)m the author s diary. 

It may not be inappropriate to state that the Aboriginal 
Native Church of Christ at Point Macleay maintains its numbers 
to the present date, and that its members continue to exhibit 
growth in Christianity and civilisation. It is the desire and 
prayer of the author that many such churches may arise to glorify 
the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that these pages may be 
honoured by beiug employed to encourage Missions for this 


Pourr Maclbat, April 12, 1878. 



The sounds of the letters axe adopted from the orthography 
recommended by the Royal Geographical Society. The conso- 
nants are to be sonnded as in English, except that g is invariably 
hard. The vowels are to be sonnded, for the most part, as in the 
following English words: a as ua father; e as in there, they; ai 
has the sound of long t; t as in /cUigus; o as in old; ou? as in 
cow, now; u as in rude; and oo as in tmoon. Ng at the beginning 
of native words is very common, and the best rule for pro- 
nouncing it is that given by Dr. Livingstone, t.e., to say the 
word as if there was an i before the ng^ but to give as little of 
the sound of the % as possible. Dl and ny are also found at the 
b^^inning of words, as dloma/ri (fog), nyrippin (washing), nyring- 
kin (warming oneself); in both of these the y has a consonantal 



The Nabrinteri, or Tribes of Aborigines inhabiting the 
Lakes Alexandrina and Albert and Lower Murray. 

The people who are described in the following pages call them- 
selves " Narrinyeri." The name is evidently an abbreviation of 
Komarrinyeri (from komar, men, and inyeri, belonging to), and 
means ''belonging to men." They take great pride in this 
designation, and call other nations of Aborigines wild black- 
fellows, while they say, "we are vien." These Narrinyeri occupy 
a tract of country which would be included within lines drawn 
from Cape Jervis to a point about thirty miles above the place 
where the River Murray discharges itself into Lake Alexan- 
«lrina, and from thence to Lacepede Bay. They are divided into 
eighteen tribes, and each is regarded by them as a family, every 
member of which is a blood relation, and therefore between indi- 
viduals of the same tribe no marriage can take place. Every 
tribe has its ngaitye or tutelary genius or tribal symbol in the 
shape of some bird, beast, fish, reptile, insect or substance. The 
reader who is not sufficiently interested may skip the following 
names of the tribes* of an obscure race of savages. Some, how- 
ever, may like to know them, and for such I write them. 

* I hATe oMd the word "tribe" as that which is most intelligible to the reader. 
We may either consider the Narrinyeri as a nation divided into tribes, or as a 
tribe of Aborigines divided into dans. The native word for tribe or clan is 



Name of Tribe. 

1. Welinyeri .. 

2. Lathinyeri.. 

3. Wnnyakolde 

4. Piltinyeri .. 

5. Korowalle .. 

6. Karatinyeri 

7. Kangalinyeri 

8. Mungulinyeri 

9. Kanmerarom 

10. Ngrangatari 

11. Pankinyeri 

12. Tararom ... 

13. Langundi ... 

14. Kaikalabinyeri 

15. Kondolinyeri 

16. Tanganarin 

17. Raminyeri... 

18. Pangoratpalar 


River Murray 

River Murray 

River Murray 

i North-eastern shore of | 
Lake Alexandrina ... \ 
North shore of Lake |f 

Alexandrina I 

Point Malcolm,entrance ) 
to Lake Albert ... { 

Lake Albert River 

Lake Albert 

I McGrath's Flat, on the | 
{ Coorong ) 

Laoepede Bay 

Lake Coorong 

iMundoo Island, Lake ) 
Alexandrina \ 

1 Sea-mouth of the River ) 
\ Murray, south side ... j 

Lake Albert, south shore 


Peninsula on the north- 1 
west side of sea-mouth / 
of the River Murray ) 

vxooi^ra ... ... ... 

Encounter Bay 



! Black duck, and black 
snake with red belly. 
I Black swan, teal, and black 
I snake with grey belly. 
Black duck. 

Leeches, catfish (native 

Whip snake. 

Wild dog, light colour. 

Wild do^, dark colour. 
( Mountam duck (chocolate 
( sheldrake). 

Mullet called Kanmeri. 

Kangaroo rat. 

{ Butter fish (native Kun- 

\ ^Ide). 

A kind of coot called TnrL 

Tern, a small kind of gulL 

{Bull Ant ; a kind of water 
weed called by the 
natives Pinggi. 

Whale (native Kondarli). 

Wattle Gum. 
Musk duck. 

The Narrinyeri had for their neighbours the Adelaide and 
Murundee blacks, called " Wakanuwan/' and the Tatiara natives, 
a cannibal tribe, called '' Merkani." 

The Narrinyeri formed a sort of confederacy, and however 
the different tribes might quarrel among themselves, they always 
presented a united front to the neighbouring natives. In 1849 
I saw a battle where about 500 of the Narrin}'eri met some 800 
of the Wakanuwan, and it was very evident that if the conflict 
had not been stopped by the colonial authorities the Narrinyeri 
would have signally defeated their opponents. They bore a 
special enmity to the Merkani because these latter had a pro- 
pensity for stealing fat people and eating them. If a man had a 
fat wife, he was always particularly careful not to leave her 
improtected lest she might be seized by prowling cannibals. 


The history of these Aborigines is involved in obscurity.* 
Their traditions make it seem probable that they came down the 
Hurray and Darling Rivers to reach their present place of abode. 
The only event which they relate as occurring before the coming 
of the white people is the prevalence of a terrible epidemic which 
came down the Murray some fifty or sixty years ago and greatly 
thinned their numbers. 

I know several men who remember the arrival of Captain 
Sturt; and they tell of the terror which was felt as they beheld 
his boat crossing the Lake Alexandrina. 

A memorable occurrence was the appearance of a couple of 
stray bullocks, from some runs in New South Wales probably. 
They were first seen in the neighbourhood of Lake Albert. The 
natives concluded they were brupar (or demons), and decamped 
from their presence in great terror. They named them wundor- 
wityeri — that is, beings with spears on their heads; and they 
have caUed homed cattle by the same name ever since. 

The Narrinyeri at the mouth of the Murray were probably the 
cause of the death of Captain Barker, the discoverer of the 
plains of Adelaide. He incautiously left his party on one side 
of the river and swam to the other; he was never after seen or 
heard of 

In the year 1840 a vessel called the Maria was wrecked at 
Lacepede Bay. The crew and passengers escaped to the shore, 

* Judging from the traditions current amongst the old natives, it is very 
probable that the country around the Lakes was originally occupied by a tribe of 
Aborigines who, they say, were under the Chiefs Waiungare and NeppellL 
Nonindere appears to have led a tribe down the Darling and Murray, and, on his 
arrival, finding the country already in the possession of the before-mentioned 
tribe, he united his people with them and gained an ascendancy over the whole. 

An intelligent native told me that before his time — he is a man between forty 
and fifty — the following circumstances occurred : — "Some time ago — how long, it 
is impomble so discover — two men of the clan called Piltinyerar, who live near 
Wellington, on the Lower Murray, went away into the scrub to the north-east 
kangaroo hunting, and did not return. Many years after, the natives felt a 
desire to find out what had become of them ; so a number of hunters, under a 
leader named Pilpe, started off to search the desert for some indications of the fate 
of their missing countrymen. They traveUed a great distance into the wilds, 
«zpkmng aa they went, and making signals which they knew would be understood 
by those whom they sought. At last, after making a kowandie or signal fire, 
they uew an answering smoke to the north-east, and hastening in that direction, 



and brought with them a great many artides of value. A portion 
of the cargo appears to have been landed, and, it was at the time 
believed, a large amount in gold coin.* The natives gathered 
round the shipwrecked people, and were asked by signs and a 
few words of English to conduct them to the whaling settlement 
at Encounter Bay, a distance of about 120 miles. They con- 
sented, and the whole party started off down the Coorong. They 
must have carried with them their most portable articles of 
value. As they went along the number of Narrinyeri in their 
escort increased. There belonged to the shipwrecked party 
several women and children. I could never ascertain the exact 
number who escaped from the Maria, but I have heard amongst 
the natives that there were twenty-five. I think it likely that 
it was never exactly known. When they came to that spot on 
the Coorong which is parallel with the head of Lake Albert the 
natives had become covetous of the goods and clothing of the 
poor people whom they were guiding, and dark designs began 
to be entertained by them. In pursuance of their murderous 
plaji they told the white people that they must now cross the 
Coorong. When they had put about half of them over the water 
in their canoes they told them to march on, thus dividing them 
into two parties. Then the natives quietly placed a man behind 
each victim as they walked, and at a signal every one was 
knocked down with a heavy club and soon dispatched. It was a 

discovered the lost men. They had got their living by hunting, and had fotind 
sufficient for their subsistence in the country where they dwelt. But they had 
become old, and were not inclined to return to the Murray River country, being 
quite contented with their then present abode. However, their friends who had 
•o successfully sought for them returned and carried back the tidings of their 
discovery." This is a good specimen of the kind of migration which has taken 
place amongst the Aborigines all over the continent. I have no doubt that» 
although only the two kangaroo hunters were mentioned, yet their wives and 
children would have accompanied them. It is so common for natives to omit any 
mention of the women. How many people have come? I have perhaps asked. 
Five men, would be the reply ; and a stranger would suppose only five men to be 
meant, but would most likely find there were a dozen women and children besides. 
So probably these two kangaroo hunters were accompanied by three or four wives 
and their children. 

* The natives say that they got a large sum of money and gave it to some 
white men for blankets. 


horrible crime. The poor souls had inarched above eighty miles 
from the wreck — toiled along wearily day after day through the 
wild and dreary waste, longing for the sight of the European 
fJELces which they were never to see! Their tracks were after- 
wards discovered and followed, and it could be seen where the 
children had got tired and had been carried by their loving 
friends; and then all were foully murdered! The murderers 
stripped them of their clothes, and thrust some of the bodies into 
wombat holes, and others they buried in the sand. A woman 
told me only a few weeks ago that she assisted in burying in the 
sand of the Coorong what may have been a mother and two 
daughters, for she said it was an elderly woman and a young 
woman, and a little girl. Another woman was found thrust into 
a wombat hole, and with her was a family Bible with the names 
of the family to which it belonged and their births, deaths, and 
marriages written therein. The spoils of the slaughtered people 
were of little value to the Narrinyeri. I was told by a woman 
who was then the wife of a shepherd on the runs on the Adelaide 
side of the Lakes, that she saw in the possession of the natives 
large and smaU sUver spoons, rolls of sUk, and clothing of aU 
kinds. The crime was quickly made known to the authorities 
in Adelaide. Very soon sufficient particulars were gathered, and 
the whole affair came out. An expedition then started under 
Major O'Halloran to avenge the crime and punish its perpetrators. 
They marched to the Coorong by way of Encounter Bay, swam 
the Murray at its mouth, and immediately came upon traces of 
the murdera They rapidly passed on and found a camp where 
large quantities of clothing and other articles made it evident 
that these were some of the guilty parties. Two of the most 
ill-looking and ferocious men were seized and hanged by the neck 
in trees without further ceremony, and two others were shot. I 
knew an old native named Pepeom who was one of those who 
attempted to withstand the advance of the whites. He was a 
tall and powerful savage. He suddenly came out from behind a 
bosh with a heavy spear, and proceeded to aim it at Major 
(XHalloran as he rode by; but the Major was too quick, and 


dashed at him before he could throw. He turned to flee^ but 
before he could escape, the sabre of his pursuer entered his 
buttock, and he fell disabled to the ground. He carried the scar 
with him as long as he Uved. The Narrinyeri never forgot the 
punishment they received for the murder of the passengers and 
crew of the Maria, 

A man who is now a member of the Church at Point Madeay 
told me that his father used to relate to him the particulars of 
the affidr. He said that Major O'Halloran's party roimded up 
the blacks in the camp, and seized some men and inarched them 
off to some trees. The white men then made signs to the rest of 
the natives to look at those trees, and suddenly they saw their 
countrymen hauled up to the limbs by ropes fastened to their 
necks. They gazed for a minute at the horrid sight, and then 
the whole party broke up and ran in every direction. Some 
of them fled above twenty mUes in their terror before they 
stopped. They never afterwards touched the bodies, but left 
them hanging until they dropped from the trees. 

The Lake Albert tribe murdered, about 1844, a man named 
McQrath, at a place afterwards called McGrath's Mat. McGrath, 
who was going overland with cattle, got some of the native 
young men to conduct him round Lake Albert. Afterwards he 
wished them to continue to guide him beyond the boundaries of 
their tribe, and upon their refusal tried to persuade them to do 
as he wished. This somehow awoke the suspicions of the old 
men, and they attacked and murdered him. The perpetrators 
of the deed were punished. 

The Narrinyeri were always a daring and restless people, and 
used to give some trouble to the authorities by their depredations 
and sheep-stealing. One of the first troopers of the police 
stationed on the Murray told me that when they went there they 
never dared to go to the river for a bucket of water, although it 
was only a few hundred yards from their huts, without pistob 
in their belta The same man told me that on one occasion a 
native had been very insolent to him, and at last provoked him 
to such an extent that he kicked him out of the hut. A short 


time after, he was just awaking from sleep at the dawn of the 
morning, and as he opened his eyes he saw the same native 
standing by his bedside with an axe in his hand as if about to 
strike. At once the trooper's hand silently moved towards the 
pistol under his pillow, and the clear dick-click as he cocked it 
was heard. With the greatest coolness the native said in an 
indiiSerent tone, " Whitefellow, why do you leave your axe out- 
side? — by-and-by somebody will steal it;" and, depositing the 
weapon by the bed, he made his exit from the hut. The trooper 
was careful the next night to see that there was such a fastening 
to his door as would prevent another visit under such extremely 
suspicious circumstances. 

Ancther story occurs to me, which, with the reader's permis- 
sion, I will tell. A rather notorious blackfeUow had been sheep- 
stealing. Two police officers set off on horseback in pursuit of 
him. As they came round the side of a steep hill by the Lakes 
they 6aw their man down by the shore. Knowing that horses 
wouk be of no use in the swamp they tied their steeds to a tree, 
and, taking their weapons, pursued on foot. Rushing amongst 
the polygonum bushes, one of them came suddenly on the native, 
who rushed at the trooper and knocked him down. The officer, 
as he lay on his back, tried to kick him off, so as get a thrust 
at him with his sabre, which he held in his hand; but, in doing so, 
stuc-c the point of the weapon intx) the toe of his own boot, and 
oould not extricate it. While this was going on, the other 
trorper, hearing the call of his comrade, clambered over the 
derse polygonums, and just at this juncture came up behind the 
native. He shouted at the blackfellow, and he left his first 
antagonist and turned to meet the other. A horse-pistol was 
presented, the trigger pulled, and off it went, the fire scorching 
the native's breast; but he did not fall and die as might have 
been expected, so the trooper seized him and led him to the spot 
where their horses were tied. There it was foimd that the 
bullet which ought to have killed the native had been shaken 
out of the pistol by the jolting of the horse, and was discovered 
in the bottom of the holster. 


One more story, illustrative not of the fierceness and savagery 
of the Narrinyeri, but of more attractive traits of character, 
faithfulness, and love. Many years ago, some white sealers on 
Kangaroo Island stx)le from the mainland near Cape Jervis 
three native women, and took them to the island. When the 
prisoners had stayed with their captors a few weeks they 1?egan 
to cast about for means to get back to their husbands and 
friends. At last they found a small dingey belonging io the 
sealers. It would only hold two. Now, two of the wometi had 
no children, but the third had an infant at the breast; lo the 
two childless lubras took the dingey and started for the main- 
land, and reached it in safety. The poor mother left behini with 
her babe must have pined sadly for her country and friendb; but 
nothing was heard of her for some time. One day the catives 
found her body on the beach just above high-water mark; with 
her baby tied to her back. She had swum Backstairs Pissage, 
and then, in a state of utter exhaustion, crawled up the shore 
and died! 

I have related these anecdotes of the Narrinyeri becfiuse I 
want to enable the reader to have some idea of the people vhose 
customs are described hereafter. I wish to try to make them 
live in his imagination. Perhaps I have not succeeded very 
well; but, at any rate, I have used what materials I had in 
making the attempt. 

In appearance the Narrinyeri are by no means such a Dad- 
looking race as some have represented Australian Aborigineii to 
be. It is true you can find ugly old men and women amongst 
them, and so you can amongst Europeans. Unfortunately for 
aboriginal ugliness, it has no means of concealing itself such as 
are found in civilised nations. There are amongst the Narrinyeri 
many good-looking and well-proportioned specimens of the 
human form. The cast of countenance is different from thi 
European, but often by no means wanting in regularity and 
even beauty. Many of the middle-aged and young men have 
quite a dignified bearing, with an air of freedom altogether 
different from low-class Europeans. They are very independent 


in their manner ; and, while they freely ask for what they want, 
take it, when granted, as from equals. Amofigst themselves 
there is a great deal of a sort of courtesy. They live in their 
camps without much disagreement. Cfustom is rigidly observed, 
and this contributes to maintain peace amongst the members of 
the tribe. Of course quarrels will arise, and bad men and women 
try to domineer and act unjustly, but yet not so much as might 
be expected. 

The Aborigines have suffered from the advent of Europeans 
perhaps more than they have gained. Their country has been 
occupied, and the game nearly exterminated. The reeds of 
which they used to build their houses, and the grass on which 
they used to sleep, have in many cases been made useless to 
them. The skins with which they used to make rugs, and the 
bark with which they made canoes, have been almost destroyed. 
Their present condition, therefore, is not to be taken as a fair 
representation of what they were in their natural state ; and we 
must not expect to find amongst their broken and scattered 
tribes many of those good qualities which they used to poasess as 

There are now three classes of natives — the old blacks, who 
hold fast all the customs of the tribes ; the natives who have 
imitated the worst vices of Europeans and become dnmkards 
and gamblers (these have neither religion nor morality, and are 
utterly lawless); and, lastly, the Christian natives, who are 
every year increasing in numbers, and are the healthiest of their 

The Narrinyeri exhibit no signs of becoming extinct just yet.* 
There are plenty of children amongst them; and the tendency of 
Christian civilisation, when adopted in its entii*ety, is to make 
them more vigorous and long-lived. 

* In 1840 the Namnyeri« according to the most trustworthy evidence, nam- 
bcred abont 3000 souls. At the time this is written there are living about 600 of 
all agea. 1S77. — There are still living 613 souls of the Narrinyeri tribe. Since 
1S69 I have recorded 150 births and 162 deaths at Point Macleay. But it must 
ba borne in mind that while many natives have been brought here from a distance 
to die, the births have been the offspring of residents in the place. 



Social Customs. 

section i. — ^marriage. 

AccORDiNO to many authorities, marriage amongst Australian 
Aborigines consists in the forcible abduction of a female from her 
tribe, and has no particular ceremony connected with it. Our 
scanty knowledge of the whole of the Australian tribes would 
scarcely warrant us in saying that this was the case with the 
majority of them. The Narrinyeri are certainly an exception. 
Although the consent of a female is not considered a matter of 
the first importance, as, indeed, is the case in many uncivilised 
nations, yet it is always regarded as desirable. There is also 
some ceremony in their marriages. To show that this has 
always been the custom I will quote the Rev. H. E. A. Meyer, 
who resided with them before they had much intercourse with 
Europeans. He says — "They are given in marriage at a very 
early age (ten or twelve years). The ceremony is very simple, 
and with great propriety may be considered an exchange, for 
no man can obtain a wife unless he can promise to give his 
sister or other relative in exchange. The marriages are always 
between persons of different tribes, and never in the same 
tribe. Should the father be living he may give his daughter 
away, but generally she is the gift of the brother. The 
person who wishes to obtain a wife never applies directly, but 
to some friend of the one who has the disposal of her, and should 
the latter also wish for a wife the bargain is soon made ; thus 
the girls have no choice in the matter, and frequently the parties 
have never seen each other before. At the time appointed 
for the marriage the relations on both sides come and encamp 
about a quarter of a mile from each other. In the night the 
men of one tribe arise and each takes a fire-stick in hand. The 
bride is taken by the hand and conducted in the midst, and 


appears generally to go very unwillingly; tbe brother or relation 
who gives her away walks silently and with downcast looks 
by himself. As soon as they approach the camp of the other 
tribe the women and children of the latter must quit the hut, 
which upon this occasion is built larger than their huts usually 
are. When they arrive at the hut one of the men invites them 
to take their places, but before they sit down the bride and 
bridegroom are placed next each other, and also the brother and 
his intended wife if it is a double marriage. The friends and 
relations then take their places on each side of the principal 
parties. They sit in this manner silent for a considerable time 
until most of them fall asleep. At daybreak the brides leave the 
hut and go to their nearest relations and remain with them until 
the evening, when they are conducted to their husbands by their 
female friends, and the tribes then separate and go to their own 
districts. When married very young, the girl is frequently away 
from her husband upon a visit to her relations for several 
months at a time, but should she remain the man is under 
obligation to provide her with animal food (providing vegetable 
food is always the duty of the females), and if she pleases 
him he shows his affection by frequently rubbing her with 
grease to improve her personal appearance and with the idea 
that it will make her grow rapidly and become fat. If a man 
has several girls at his disposal, he speedily obtains several 
wives, who, however, very seldom agree well with each other, 
but are continually quarrelling, each endeavouring to be the 
&vourite. The man, regarding them more as slaves than in any 
other light, employs them in every possible way to his own 
advantage. They are obliged to get him shell-fish, roots, and 
eatable planta" 

Now I have but little to add to these statements. It is 
regarded by the females as very disgraceful not to be given away 
in exchange for another. A young woman who goes away with 
a man and lives with him as his wife without the consent of her 
relatives is regarded as very little better than a prostitute. She 
is always open to the taimt that she had nothing given for her. 


When a man has a sister or daughter whom it is his right to 
give away, he will often sell that right to a man who wants a 
wife for either money, clothes, or weapons, and then the purchaser 
will give the woman away in exchange for a wife for himself. 
A woman is supposed to signify her consent to the marriage 
by carrying fire to her husband's wurley,* and making his 
fire for him. An unwilling wife will say, when she wishes to 
signify that she was forced into marriage with her husband, " I 
never made any fire in his wurley for him.'' In case of a man 
having two wives, the elder is always regarded as the mistress of 
the hut or wurley. 

Marriages always take place after dark, and are generally 
celebrated with a great deal of dancing and singing. I know 
that, on some occasions, amongst a certain class of natives, a 
great deal of licentious revelry will take place, but this is not 
always the case. I have known as well-matched and loving 
couples amongst the Aborigines as I have amongst Europeans. 

One singularity of their courtship is, that the suitor always 
tries to make out that he marries the damsel because she very 
much wants him to do so. When a couple are fond of each 
other they generally manage to get married, if not too nearly 
related. The aversion of the natives to even second cousins 
marrying is very great. They are extremely strict in this 
matter. The first inquiry with regard to a proposed marriage 
is, whether there is any tie of kindred between the parties, and 
if there be it prevents the match, and if the couple should 
cohabit afterwards they will be always looked upon with dis- 
honour; in short, the Narrinyeri are exogamous, and never 
marry in their own tribe. A man's chUdren belong to his tribe, 
and not to their mother's. This is remarkable, as it is so 
contrary to what is said by certain anthropologists to be the 
rule in savage tribes. A man's sons always inherit their father's 

* This word umrley is from the language of the Adelaide tribe. The Narrinyeri 
word is mante^ I have used "wurley," because it is more generally understood by 
the colonists. 



Mr. Meyer says — ^''When a woman is near ber confinement 
she removes from the encampment with some of the women to 
assist her. As soon as the child is bom, the information is 
conveyed to the father, who immediately goes to see the child 
and to attend upon the mother, by carrying firewood, water, &c. 
If there are unmarried men and boys in the camp, as there 
generally are, the woman and her friends are obliged to remain 
at a distance in their own encampment. This appears to be part 
of the same superstition which obliges a woman to separate 
herself from the camp at certain times, when, if a young man or 
boy should approach, she calls out, and he immediately makes a 
circuit to avoid her. If she is neglectful upon this point, she 
exposes herself to scolding, and sometimes to severe beating by 
her husband or nearest relation. 

"If the child is permitted to live (I say permitted, because 
they are frequently put to death) it is brought up with great 
care, more than generally falls to the lot of children of the poorer 
class of Europeans. Should it cry, it is passed from one person 
to another and caressed and soothed, and the father will frequently 
nurse it for several houre together." 

Infanticide appears to have been very prevalent among the 
Aborigines before the commencement of this colony. I have 
been assured by Narrinyeri that at that time more than one-half 
of the children bom fell victims to this atrocious custom. One 
intelligent woman said, she thought that if the Europeans had 
waited a few more 3'ears they would have found the country 
without inhabitants. She herself had destroyed one infant. I 
know several women who have put to death two or three each 
of their new-born children. The details of this practice disclose 
the most horrible cruelty. The babe was generally deprived of 
life as soon as it was bom, before parental love could assert its 
|>ower and save it. A red-hot einber from the fire was stufled 
into each of its ears as far as it could be thrust, and then the 
orifice closed by filling it with sand. After a few cries of agony 


the child became insensible, and soon died. In the meanwhile a 
large fire was prepared, and the body thrown into it and burnt. 
This appears to have been the most usual method; but sometimes 
strangulation, or a blow of a waddy, was resorted to with the 
same intent. 

Infanticide is not prevalent amongst the Narrinyeri at the 
present time. Thirteen years ago one-third of the infants which 
were born were put to death. Every chUd which was born 
before the one which preceded it could walk was destroyed, be- 
cause the mother was regarded as incapable of carrying two. 
All deformed children were killed as soon as born. Of twins, 
one, and often both, were put to death. About one-half of the 
half-caste infants fell victims to the jealousy of the husbands of 
their mothers. Many illegitimate children — that is children who 
were bom before their mothers were given in marriage— were 

This terrible crime of infanticide is covered up and concealed 
from the observation of the whites with extreme care. The bush 
life which they lead affords every facility for so doing. I was 
myself for some time in ignorance that it existed to such an ex- 
tent as it does. Only very intimate acquaintance with the 
natives led me to discover its prevalence. I remember two in- 
stances of it. In one, the mother hated the child, because she 
had been given in marriage to its father against her will; there- 
fore, with the assistance of another female, she murdered it in 
the most brutal maimer. The other was an illegitimate child of 
a girl called Pompanyeripooritye. I was informed of the birth, 
and got the nearest relatives to promise that the child's life 
should be spared. But an old savage, named Katyirene, a rela- 
tive of the reputed father, was offended at this forbearance, so he 
set the wurley on fire in which the mother and infant were lying, 
and very nearly accomplished the destruction of both. I soon 
after found that the child was suffering and pining from some 
internal injury, and in about forty-eight hours it died. I have 
no doubt that foul play was the cause of its death, for it was a 
fine healthy child when it was newly bom. 


But it must not be concluded from these facts that the Narrin- 
yen are incapable of affection for their children. Only let it be 
determined that an infant's life shall be saved, and there are no 
bounds to the fondness and indulgence with which it is treated. 
Its little winning ways are noticed with delight, and it is the 
object of the tenderest care. I have known men nurse their 
children for hours at a time in the absence or sickness of the 
mothers, and capital nurses they are too. I have seen a man 
transported with the wildest rage, and fell everybody within 
reach of his kanape, because he saw a slight spot of blood caused 
by an accidental blow on the forehead of his baby boy. I re- 
member a man and woman being plunged in the deepest grief 
by the death of an infant. This child was born before the next 
older could walk, and consequently ought by native custom to 
have. been destroyed. But being preserved through my influence, 
its parents became most devotedly attached to it, and I think I 
never saw more real sorrow than was manifested by them at its 

When native children are first bom they are nearly as white 
as Europeans. It is difficult for an inexperienced person to tell 
whether they are half-caste or not. The sign by which this may 
be known, is a smutty appearance in the pure aboriginal infant 
just on the upper part of the forehead, as if a smutty hand had 
been laid there. 

Children are suckled by their mothers tUl they are two or 
three years old. 

Qirls wear a sort of apron of fringe, called kaininggi, imtil 
they bear then* first child. If they have no children, it is taken 
from them and burned by their husbands while they are asleep. 
I have known girls have children when only fourteen years of 


Among the Narrinyeri, boys are not allowed to cut or comb 
their hair from the time they are about ten years of age imtil 
they undergo the rites by which they are admitted to the class 


of men. They are taught to believe that disease will be the re- 
sult if they break this rule. For some few weeks I had been per- 
suading a boy to cut and comb his hair, offering as an induce- 
ment the gift of new clothes; at last, after a great deal of 
hesitation, he did as I wished, and I gave him the clothes. 
Afterwards his mother reproached me for advising her son 
to take such an imprudent step, and I observed that the lad 
seemed nervous. On that very day he became ill, and I have no 
doubt that his illness was caused solely by superstitious fear of 
the result of having his hair cut. Of course, the old people will 
paint to this as an instance of the dangerous effects of breaking 
native customs. We can scarcely comprehend the power of 
imagination over the mind of a savage. 

The boys also are forbidden to eat thirteen different sorts of 
game; and it is said that if they eat them, they will become pre- 
maturely grey. I have no doubt that the original object of this 
custom was, the making of a provision for the old people and 
women; for the game which is forbidden to the boys is easily ob- 
tained and is nourishing food. If, therefore, they were allowed 
to partake of it, such animals would probably soon be exter- 
minated, for the whole tribe would feed on them to the neglect 
of those animals which are more difficult to obtain; so a regula- 
tion has at some time or other been made to prevent the boys 
from eating them; and thus these animals are preserved to the 
old people and women. By this means, also, they are made sure 
of getting some of the spoils of the chase carried on by the young 
men and boys, who do not hesitate to kill such animals if they 
get a chance, but never eat them themselves, always reserviDg 
them for the old people. 

When the beard of a youth has grown a sufficient length he is 
made narumbe, kaingani, or young man. In order that this 
ceremony may be properly performed, and the youth admitted as 
an equal among the men of the Narrinyeri, it is necessary that 
members of several different tribes should be present on the 
occasion. A single tribe cannot make its own youths narumbe 
without the assistance of other tribes. This prevents any tribe 


from increasing its number of men, by admitting those who have 
not yet arrived at the proper age, and thus prevents them from 
making a claim for a greater number of women than their proper 
share — an important consideration where every tribe has to ob- 
tain wives from those which are adjacent — ^as they never inter- 
marry in their own tribe, all the members of which are regarded 
as of the same family. 

Generally two youths are made kainganis at the same time, so 
that they may afterwards during the time that they are narumbe 
assist each other. They are seized at night suddenly by the 
men, and carried off by force to a spot at some little distance 
from the wurley, the women all the time resisting or pretending 
to resist the seizure by pulling at the captives, and throwing fire- 
brands at their captors. But they are soon driven off to their 
wurley and compelled to stop there, while the men proceed to 
strip the two youths. Their matted hair is combed or rather 
torn out with the point of a spear, and their moustaches and a 
great part of their beard plucked up by the roots. They are 
then besmeared from the crown of their heads to their feet with 
a mixture of oil and red ochre. For three days and three nights 
the newly-made kainganis must neither eat nor sleep, a strict 
watch being kept over them to prevent either. They are allowed 
to drink water, but only by sucking it up through a reed; the 
luxury of a drinking vessel is denied to them for several months. 
And when, after the three days, the refreshment of sleep is per- 
mitted, they are not allowed a pillow — a couple of sticks stuck in 
the ground crosswise are all they must rest their heads on. For 
six months they are obliged to walk naked or with merely the 
slightest coveriug round their loins. The condition of narumbe 
lasts until their beards have been pulled out three times, and 
each time have grown again to about the length of two inches, 
and during all that period they are forbidden to eat any food 
which belongs to women, and also from, partaking of twenty 
diflEBreat kinds of game. If they eat any of these forbidden 
thiogs ife is thought they will grow ugly. Only the animals 
whieh are the most difficult to obtain are assigned for their sub- 



sistence; this appears to be for the purpose of making them 
expert hunters. Everything which they possess or obtain be- 
comes narumbe, or sacred from the touch of women; even the 
bird hit by their waddy, or the kangaroo speared by their 
spear, or the fish taken by their hook, even when these instrtK 
ments are used by other hands than their own, is forbidden to 
all females. 

They are not allowed to take a wife until the time during 
which they are narumbe has expired; but they are allowed the 
abominable privilege of promiscuous intercourse with the yoimger 
portion of the other sex. 

Any violation of these customs is punished by the old men 
with death; sometimes inflicted by millin, i.e., witchcraft, but 
often by more violent and certain methods. 

I think it is evident that all these rules for the narumbe are 
intended as a means of making the men of the tribe hardy, by 
exposing them to privation and suffering. I know, however, 
that at present the effect is precisely the reverse. The health of 
many yoimg men is utterly destroyed, and many even come by 
their death from the barbarous ordeal which they are forced to 
undergo. A lad works about a farm or station, and is dotlied 
and fed there until he is sixteen or eighteen years of age, and 
then he is seized by his relatives and forced to undei^ the 
exposure and cold inseparable from the life of a narumbe; partly 
induced to acquiesce by the consideration that if he does not 
submit he will not get a wife; and partly bribed by the offer of 
licentious indulgence. The consequence usually is that he gets 
disease of the lungs, which either weakens him for life or causes 
his speedy death. 


The NaiTinyeri point out several stars, and say that they are 
deceased warriors who have gone to heaven (Wyirrewarre). 
There are Wyungare, and Nepalle, and the Manchingga, and 
several others. Every native expects to go to Wyirrewarre after 


death. They also believe that the dead descend from thence, 
and walk the earth; and that they are able to injure those whom 
they dislike. Consequently, men who have been notorious in 
life for a domineering and revengeful disposition are very much 
dreaded after death. For instance, there is Earungpe, who 
comes in the dead of night, when the camp fire has burned low, 
and like a rushing wind scatters the dying embers, and then 
takes advantage of the darkness to rob some sleeper of life; and 
it is considered dangerous to whistle in the dark, for Earungpe 
is especially attracted by a whistle. There is another restless 
spirit — the deceased father of a boy whom I well know — ^who is 
said to roam about armed with a rope, with which he catches 
people. All the Narrinyeri, old and young, are dreadfully afraid 
of seeing ghosts, and none of them will venture into the scrub 
after dark, lest he should encounter the spirits which are sup- 
posed to roam there. I have heard some admirable specimens of 
ghost stories from them. In one case I remember the ghost was 
represented to have set fire to a wurley, and ascended to heaven 
in the flame. 

The Narrinyeri regard the disapprobation of the spirits of the 
dead as a thing to be dreaded; and if a serious quarrel takes 
place between near relatives, some of their friends are sure to 
interpose with entreaties to the contentious parties to be recon- 
ciled, lest the spirits of the dead should be offended at unseemly 
disputes between those who ought to be at peace. The name of 
the dead must not be mentioned imtil his body has decayed, lest 
a want of sorrow should seem to be indicated by the common 
and flippant use of his name. A native would have the de- 
ceased believe that he cannot hear or speak his name without 

But the most direct way in which the reverence of these people 
is shown for the dead is in their funereal ceremonies. When 
a man dies they conclude at once that sorcery has been the cause 
of the mournful event, and that either ngadhungi or millin must 
have been practised against him. The first night after a man 
has died his nearest relation sleeps with his head on the corpse, 

c 2 


Id order that he may be led to dream who is the sorcerer that 
caused his death. The next day the corpse is elevated on men's 
shoulders on a sort of bier called ngaratta. The friends of the 
deceased then gather round, and several names are called out to 
try if the mention of them produces any effect on the corpse. At 
last the nearest relative calls out the name of the person of whom 
he has dreamed, and then an impulse towards him on the part 
of the dead body is said to be felt by the bearers, which they 
pretend .they cannot resist, and consequently they walk towards 
him. This impulse is the sign by which it is known that the 
right name has been called out. 

The deceased, still lying on the ngaratta, is then placed over a 
slow fire for a day or two, until the outer skin blisters. This is 
removed with the hair, and all the apertures of the body are 
sewed up. It is then rubbed over with grease and red ochre, 
and set up naked on a sort of stage inside the wurley in a sitting 
position. A great lamentation and wailing is made at this time 
by all the relations and friends of the dead man. They cut their 
hair off close to the head, and besmear themselves with oil and 
pounded charcoal The women besmear themselves with the 
most disgusting filth; they all beat and cut themselves, and 
make violent demonstrations of grief. All the relatives are 
careful to be present and not to be wanting in the proper signs 
of sorrow, lest they should be suspected of complicity in causing 
the death. A slow fire is placed imder the coi*pse, in order to 
dry it. Th& relations live, eat, drink, and sleep imder the 
putrefying mass until it is dried. It is then wrapped up in mats 
and kept in the wurley. During the time in which it is drying 
the female relatives relieve one another in weeping before the 
body, so as to keep some women always weeping in front of it. 
All this has very much the appearance of idolatry. The smoke 
rising around the red sitting figure, the wailing women, the old 
men with long wands, with a brush of feathevs at the end, 
anointing it with grease and red ochre — all these contribute to 
give one this impression of the whole scene. When any one 
leaves the wurley where the body is for a few days, they are 


expected to stand before it and weep and wail on their return. 
However they manage the requisite amount of crying I never 
could imagine. For one minute a woman will appear in the 
deepest agony of grief and tears; a few minutes after, the con- 
ventional amount of weeping having been accomplished, they 
will laugh and talk with the merriest. I feel persuaded that 
fear has more to do with most of these exhibitions than grief 

Bum the spirit of the dead is not considered to have been 
appea»^ imtil his relatives have avenged his death. They will 
kill the sorcerer who has caused it if they can catch him; but 
generally they cannot catch him, and often do not wish it. Most 
probably he belongs to some other tribe of the Narrinyeri. 
Messengers pass between the tribes relative to the affair, and the 
friends of the accused person at last formally curse the dead man 
and all his dead relatives. This constitutes a casus beUi, Ar- 
rangements are forthwith made for a pitched battle, and the two 
tribes meet in company with their respective allies. The tribe 
to which the dead man belongs weep and make a great lamenta- 
tion for him, and the opposing tribe sets some fellows to dance 
about and play antics in derision of their enemies. Then the 
whole tribe will set up a great laugh by way of further provoca- 
tion. If there is any other cause of animosity between the tribes 
besides the matter of avenging the dead there will now be a 
pretty severe fight with spears. If, however, the tribes have 
nothing but the dead man to fight about, they will probably 
throw a few spears, indulge in considerable abuse of each other, 
perhaps one or two will get slightly wounded, and then some of 
the old men will declare that enough has been done. The dead 
man is considered to have been appeased by the efforts of his 
friends to avenge his death by fighting, and the two tribes are 
friendly again. In such a case the fight is a mere ceremony. ^^ 

The hair of the dead is spim into a cord, which is made into a 
headband, and commonly worn by men. They say that thereby 
they smell the dead, and that it makes their eyes large and their 
sight keen, so that in a fight they are enabled to see the spears 
coming, and either to parry or avoid them. 


Some years after writing the foregoing the writer came upon 
the following passage in Ellis's ''Polynesian Researches." De- 
scribing similar customs of the inhabitants of Tahiti, he says — 
"The bodies of the dead, among the chiefs, were, however, in 
general preserved above ground: a temporary house or shed was 
erected for them, and they were placed on a kind of bier. The 
practice of embalming appears to have been long familiar to 
them; and the length of time which the body was thus preserved 
depended upon the care with which the process was per- 
formed The intestines, brain, &c., were removed, all 

moisture extracted from the body, which was fixed in a sitting 
posture during the day, and exposed to the sun. The inside was 
filled with doth saturated with perfumed oils, which were care- 
fully rubbed over the outside every day. In the course of a few 
weeks the muscles dried up, and the whole body appeared as if 
covered with a kind of parchment. It was then clothed and 
fixed in a sitting posture; a small altar was erected before it, and 
offerings of food, fruit, and flowers daily presented by the rela- 
tives, or the priest appointed to attend the body. In this state 
it was preserved many months; and when it decayed, the skull 
was carefully kept by the family, while the other bones, &c., 
were burned within the precincts of the family temple." 



section i. — ngadhungi. 

It is very interesting to trace that similarity between different 
portions of the human race, in manners, superstitions, and tradi- 
tions, which would lead us to conclude that although oceans may 
separate them, yet they belong to the same radical stock. In 
Dr. Turner's work, called "Nineteen Years in Polynesia," I 
observe some remarkable points of resemblance between the 
inhabitants of the New Hebrides and the NarrinyerL The 
learned author of the work referred to gives the foUowing 
acocunt of a custom prevalent in Tanna and the adjacent 
islands: — ^"The real gods at Tanna may be said to be the 
disease-makers. It is surprising how these men are dreaded, 
and how firm the belief is that they have in their hands the 
power of life and death. It is believed that these men can create 
disease and death by burning what is called nahak. Nahak 
means rubbish, but principally refuse of food. Everything of the 
kind they bury or throw into the sea, lest the disease-makers 
should get hold of it. These fellows are always about, and con- 
sider it their special business to pick up and bum with certain 
formalities anything in the nahak line which comes in their way. 
If a disease-maker sees the skin of a banana, for instance, he 
picks it up, wraps it in a leaf, and wears it all day hanging roimd 
his neck. In the evening he scrapes some bark off a tree, mixes 
it up with the banana-skin, rolls it up tightly in a leaf in the 
foiln of a cigar, and then puts one end close enough to the fire to 
cause it to singe and smoulder and bum away gradually. When 
a person is taken ill he believes that it is occasioned by someone 
burning hb rubbish; and if he dies, his friends lay it all down to 
the disease-makers as having burned the rubbish to the end. 
The idea is that whenever it is all burned the person dies. If a 


disease-maker was ill himself he felt sure that someone must be 
burning his nahak." 

I have al»idged the description on account of its length; but 
the foregoing is the part most to my purpose. 

Now, the Narrinyeri of this colony have a similar practice to 
this nahak-buming prevalent among the Tannese, and their whole 
commimity is influenced by disease-makers. This kind of sorcery, 
by which disease is supposed to be produced, is called ngad- 
hungi. It is practised in the following manner: — ^Every adult 
blackfellow is constantly on the look-out for bones of ducks, 
swans, or other birds, or of the fish called ponde, the flesh of 
which has been eaten by anybody. Of these he constructs his 
charms. All the natives, therefore, are careful to bum the bones 
of the animals which they eat, so as to prevent their enemies 
from getting hold of them; but, in spite of this precaution, sach 
bones are commonly obtained by disease-makers who want tbem. 
When a man has obtained a bone — for instance, the leg bone of 
a duck — ^he supposes that he possesses the power of life and 
death over the man, woman, or child who ate its flesh. The 
bone is prepared by being scraped into something like a skeii^er; 
a small round lump is then made by mixing a little fish oil and 
red ochre into a paste, and enclosing in it the eye of a Murray 
cod and a small piece of the flesh of a dead human body. This 
lump is stuck on the top of the bone and a covering tied over it, 
and it is put in the bosom of a corpse in order that it may derive 
deadly potency by contact with corruption. After it has re- 
mained there for some time it is considered fit for use, and is put 
away until its assistance is required. Should circumstances arise 
calculated to excite the resentment of the disease-maker towai*ds 
the person who ate the flesh of the animal from which the bone 
was taken, he immediately sticks the bone in the ground near 
the fii*e, so that the lump aforesaid may melt away gradually, 
firmly believing that as it dissolves it will produce disease in the 
person for whom it was designed, however distant he may be. 
The entire melting and dropping ofi* of the lump is supposed to 
cause death. 


The Rev. W. Ellis, speaking of the Tahitians, says — ^"'The 
parings of the nails, a lock ot the hair, the saliva from the 
month, or other secretions fix)m the body, or else a portion of 
the food which the person was to eat, this was considered as 
the vehicle by which the demon entered the person who after- 
wards became possessed The sorcerer took the hair, 

saliva, or other substance which had belonged to his victim, to 
his house, or marae, performed his incantations over it, and 
offered his prayers; the demon was then supposed to enter the 
substance (called tubu), and through it the individual who 
suffered from the enchantment" ("Polynesian Researches," vol. ii., 
p. 228). 

When a person is ill he generally regards his sickness as the 
result of ngadhungi, and tries to discover who is the disease- 
maker. When he thinks that he has discovered him he puts 
down a ngadhungi to the fire, for the purpose of retaliating; 
that is, if he has one made of the bone of an animal fix)m 
which his supposed enemy has eaten. And if he has not he 
tries to borrow one. Some time ago a blackfellow of my 
acquaintance, feeling himself unwell, as he supposed from the 
effects of this sorcery, rubbed himself over with soot in sign of 
desperation, and then taking his weapons went and fired two 
wurleys, and challenged the whole family to which he supposed 
the person who had bewitched him belonged, although he knew 
that the particular person whom he suspected of being the 
immediate agent was thirty miles away. 

I have seen as many as a dozen ngadhungi in a man's basket, 
and have been told that one was for a man, another for a 
woman, another for a boy, and so on, mentioning the parties for 
whom they were intended. I also heard the man who had them 
say that when he died he should tell his relations to put them all 
to the fire, so as to be revenged on the people who may have 
accomplished his death; for no native regards death as natural, 
but always as the result of sorcery. Frequently, when a man 
has got the ngadhungi of another, he will go to him and say — 
*' I have your ngadhungi; what will you give me for itf Per- 


haps the other man will say that he has one belonging to the 
person who asks him the question, and in that case they will 
make an exchange, and each destroy the ngadhungi. If, how- 
ever, this is not the case, the man will endeavour to make a 
bargain with the person who has the ngadhungi, and obtain 
it from him by purchase. Sometimes he will give money, or 
spears, or nets, as the price of it. '' AU that a man hath will he 
give for his life." When he has obtained it he destroys it imme- 
diately. I believe that there are many of these Narrinyeri who 
make it their business to look out for anything in the shape of 
ngadhungi, in order to sell it in the manner above mentioned. 
Of course, a great deal of imposture is practised by such 

It is not necessary that I should specify the particular points 
of resemblance between ngadhungi and the nahak of the Tan- 
nese. I trust that from the description which I have given they 
will be sufficiently apparent. 

A correspondent in the far north of this colony wrote to me in 
1862 as follows: — ^''The Pando and Blanche water blacks have a 
peculiar superstition. They take the bone of some defunct 
friend, and it is chewed by two or three of the old men; they 
then make little graves in the hot ashes, and put in the bone, 
calling it by the name of some enemy. They believe that when 
the bone is consumed their enemy will die." 


This is another kind of sorcery practised amongst the Narrin- 
yeri. When a man intends to set out on an expedition for the 
purpose of taking his revenge, by means of millin, against any 
one whom he dislikes, he marks his face and body all over with 
white streaks for the purpose of disguising himself. The con- 
' cealment obtained by this means is almost complete: but it 
is also used for other purposes besides the above. He then takes 
his plongge, which is a stout club with a large conical-shaped 
knob, and puts it in his basket with a few more clubs (native 


kanake), and generally taking a companion with him, similarly 
equipped, starts on his enterprise. They proceed to prowl 
through the hunting grounds of the tribe to which the person 
they seek belongs, taking care to conceal themselves as much as 
possible. When they see their victim alone, they steal noiselessly 
upon him, and rushing at him, suddenly strike him a heavy blow 
on the head with the plongge, for the purpose of stunning him. 
Then as he lies there insensible, they strike him moderately hard 
with the plongge on the joints of the legs and arms, on the nape 
of the neck, and on the naked chest, the blows not being severe 
enough to break the bones, as a touch of the instrument is con- 
sidered sufficient In conclusion, they pull the victim s ears until 
they crack, and then leave him to recover as he best can. This 
last operation is for the purpose of rendering the person incapable 
of telling who attacked him. He is now said to be plongge 
watyeri, and by the operation he is delivered over to the power 
of a certain demon called "Nalkaru." If he goes into battle, the 
malignant spirit will be at his ear, and by whispering in his ear 
seek to divert his attention from the proper management of the 
shield, so that he may receive a fatal wound. If the victim of 
the plongge walks into the bush his invisible pursuer, Nalkaru, 
wiU seek to divert his attention from his'path, so that he may 
tread on a deadly snake. Or perhaps the miUin may produce 
disease. I have frequently heard men say that they felt the 
plongge in their chests. But it is not only on an expedition for 
the purpose that millin is perpetrated. Frequently a man will 
get up in the dead of night » and after warming the plongge at 
the fire, so that its cold surface may not awaken the sleeper, 
proceed to operate on some imsuspecting occupant of the same 
wurley, taking care to do it so gently as not to be felt by the 
sleeping victim. In this way the malice of one person against 
another is frequently gratified. 

The dread of millin is universal amongst the Narrinyeri. I 
have often tried to argue people out of their belief in it, but in 
vain. Only adult males are considered able to practise it, and it 
is regarded as the greatest crime of which an enemy can be 

-28 HILLIK. 

guilty. Its perpetrator is called Malpuri — ^a term signifying a 
murderer by intent. Anybody convicted of millin is generally 
put to death by the relations of his victims on the first convenient 
opportunity. The avenger of blood is not very particular who is 
sacrificed to the desire for revenge; the brother of a guilty 
person is put to death in his stead without hesitation, if he comes 
in the way. 

I should far exceed my proper limits were I to relate all the 
tales of adventures connected with millin which I have heard 
from the natives. I will, however, give a specimen or two: — 
About fifteen years ago a lad and girl, each of about thirteen 
years of age, were fetching wood for a white fisherman, who had 
encamped at PoinguUy. The greatest part of the tribe to which 
they belonged were absent at a fight at Piltangk, and only these 
two, with some old women, had been left at the wurley. In 
course of their work they had wandered off in search of wood 
some seven or eight hundred yards from the encampment. All 
on a sudden the lad discovered that they were being watched by 
two men, painted with white streaks, who were hiding behind 
some bushes. Well knowing their purpose, he pointed them out 
to the girl, and told her to run, at the same time setting her the 
example. The two fellows no sooner saw that they were per- 
ceived than they gave chase. The girl was overtaken and 
brought to the ground with the plongge by one of the pursuers. 
The other followed the boy, and nearly caught him ; but he saved 
himself by catching up a stick and holding it with both hands 
up to the back of his head as he ran to ward off the expected blow, 
at the same time shouting to the white fisherman for help. Thus 
he succeeded in escaping, as the pursuer was afraid to approach 
too near the camp. When the lad arrived he entreated the old 
women to go in search of the girl, and after a short time they 
did so, and found her dead ; the blow of the plongge had killed 
her. — A couple of blackfellows discovered that depredations had 
been made upon the fish which they kept in the usual enclosure, 
or fishpound, for the subsistence of themselves and families, so 
they concealed themselves in the neighbourhood, and watched 


for the thief. They saw a man come down to the pond, and 
begin getting out fish. They made a dash at him, he ran, and 
one of them threw a barbed spear at him, which stuck in his Ic^, 
and stopped him. Pulling out the plongge they stunned him 
with it, and then operated on him in the usual manner with that 
instrument. After extracting the spear, probably by passing its 
whole length through the limb, they left him lying senseless on 
the lake shore. The next morning they found that he had gone 

The belief in sorcery makes the Narrinyeri, as a people, less, 
bloodthirsty than they otherwise would be; for instead of exact- 
ing sanguinary vengeance for any injury, they are generally 
content to use the more secret means of revenge, which 
ngadhungi or miHin affords. And I am certain, from my own 
observation, that so strong is their conviction of the deadly 
power of the latter, that any of them who became aware of ita 
having been used upon them, would give themselves up to 
despair. This is especially true of the women. 

On the other hand, although their belief in sorcery renderii 
them less bloodthirsty, yet it has the baneful effect of making 
them careless of the natural causes of disease. They do not 
seem to recognise cold, or repletion, or unwholesome food, or 
contagion, as causes of sickness; and are not careful to use 
precautions for its prevention. It is enough for them to believe 
that ngadhungi has been burnt, or millin practised. And in 
them they find a sufficient cause for every disease, and what 
would render all precaution useless. 

The Narrinyeri abhor the horrible practice of the upper river 
tribes of taking out the kidney fat of their living enemies. 


There is a horrid method of seeking revenge prevalent amongst 
the Narrinyeri, which is not witchcraft, but more deadly in its 
nature. It was introduced about sixteen years ago fix)m the 
Upper Murray, and has no doubt been the means whereby 


many a life has been taken. It is called neilyeri. When a 
heathen native wants a method of revenge he takes either a 
spear-head, a piece of bone (often human), or else a piece of iron, 
sharpens it to a keen point, and cuts it a convenient length, 
generally about six or eight inches. He then sticks it into the 
fleshy part of a putrid corpse, and keeps it there for some weeks. 
He then takes either a bunch of spun hair, or feathers, and soaks 
them in the fat of a corpse extracted for the purpose. In this he 
wraps up the point of the short dagger-like neilyeri, and thus 
possesses himself of a most deadly poisoned weapon. Let him 
only get near his enemy when he is asleep, and a single prick 
with the neilyeri will cause him to be inoculated with the virus 
of death, and he will be doomed to horrible agonies and probably 
deatL The effect is exactly the same as when a surgeon, in 
dissecting a human body, scratches himself with his scalpel, and, 
as we know, produces serious if not fatal results, called blood 

The old natives are well acquainted with the virulent nature 
of the fluids of a corpse; and I have no doubt that they strenu- 
ously resist every attempt to make them bury their dead in order 
to retain this means of revenge in their hands. 

I heard of a case some time ago of the practice of neilyeri. A 
native of Mundoo Island was sleeping in his wurley, when he 
suddenly felt something prick his foot. He jimiped up and saw 
a man by his foot doing something, and immediately seized him. 
The fellow burst from his grasp, dropping a small sharp pocket 
knife as he did so, and escaped; but the assailed person could see 
in his hand the bunch of spun hair, containing the deadly poison. 
The intending murderer had pricked his victim a little too 
sharply with the knife and awoke him; if he had been more 
skilful he would have just raised the skin sufiiciently to draw 
blood, and then gently dabbed the wound with the venom of 
death, and departed. Probably the victim would have lost either 
his leg or his life. 

Neilyeri was not the invention of the Narrinyeri, it came from 
the upper river, but one can easily conceive how easily the old 


natives would grasp it as a means of maintaining their reign of 
terror, now that the power of all sorceries is waning before the 
enlightenment of the young people. And they are dreadfully 
afraid of it; the mere pointing of the neilyeri at them makes 
them feel ill. I think this abominable practice ought to induce 
the authorities to put down the keeping of dead bodies with 
a strong hand. Without corpses there could be no neilyeri 



Tribal Customs. 

section l — chiefs — ngia-ngiampk 

Each of the tribes of the Narrinyeri has its chief, whose title is 
Rupulle (which means landowner), who is their leader in war, 
and whose person is carefully guarded in battle by the warriors 
of his dan. The Rupulle is the negotiator and spokesman for 
the tribe in all disagreements with other tribes; and his advice 
is sought on all occasions of difficulty or perplexity. His 
authority is supported by the heads of families, and he is ex- 
pected always to reside on the hunting grounds of the tribe. The 
Rupulle used to possess the right to divide the animals taken in 
the chase amongst the other heads of feuinilies, but this is seldom 
observed now. The chieftainship is not hereditary, but elective. 
The deceased chief's brother, or second son, is quite as eligible for 
the dignity as the eldest son, if the heads of families prefer him. 
For instance, Peter, who is the Rupulle of the Point Malcolm 
tribe, was not, I believe, the eldest son of his father, nor yet the 
most warlike or athletic, but was chosen by his tribe for his 
wisdom, moderation, and good temper. But it is not always that 
a tribe exercises its power so discreetly. 

When a dispute arises it is generally settled by the stronger 
party having their way. If it is doubtful which is the stronger, 
they have a fight with waddies till one or the other is beaten. 
But the most real authority exercised by the chief and his sup- 
porters is enforced by means of witchcraft. If any young men or 
women attempt a departure from the customs of their forefathers 
they are immediately threatened with ngadhungi, or millin, and 
this usually restrains them. 

Ngiorngiampe. — ^There appears to have existed a sort of traffic 
between the tribes on the Murray and those near the sea, and a 


curious sort of provision is made for it, the object of which may 
be the securing of perfectly trustworthy agents to transact the 
business of the tribes — agents who will not by collusion cheat 
their employers and enrich themselves. The way in which this 
provision is made is as follows: — When a man has a child bom 
to him he preserves its umbilical cord by tying it up in the middle 
of a bimch of feathers. This is called a kalduke. He then gives 
this to the father of a child or children belonging to another 
tribe, and those children are thenceforth ngia-ngiampe to the 
child from whom the kalduke was procured, and that child is 
ngia-ngiampe to them. From that time none of the children of 
the man to whom the kalduke was given may speak to their ngia- 
ngiampe, or even touch or go near him; neither must he speak to 
them. I know several persons who are thus estranged from each 
other, and have often seen them in ludicrous anxiety to escape 
from touching or going near their ngia-ngiampe. When two 
individuals who are in this position with regard to each other have 
arrived at adult age, they become the agents through which their 
respective tribes carry on barter. For instance, a Mundoo black- 
fellow who had a ngia-ngiampe belonging to a tribe a little dis- 
tance up the Munay would be supplied with the particular 
articles, such as baskets, mats or rugs, manufactured by the 
Mundoo tribes to carry to his ngia-ngiampe, who, in exchange, 
would send the things made by his tribe. Thus a blackfellow. 
Jack Hamilton, who was speared at a fight at Teringe, once had 
a ngia-ngiampe in the Mundoo tribe. While he lived on the 
Murray he sent spears and plongges, i.e., clubs, down to his agent 
of the Mundoo blacks, who was also supplied with mats and nets 
and rugs to send up to him, for the purpose of giving them in 
exchange to the tribe to which he belonged. 

The e.strangement of the ngia ngiampes seems to answer two 
purposes. It gives security to the tribes that there will be no 
collusion between their agents for their own private advantage, 
and also compels the two always to conduct the business through 
third parties. Sometimes two persons are made ngia-ngiampe to 
each other temporarily. This is done by dividing the kalduke 


and giving one part to each of them. As long as they retain the 
pieces they are estranged from each other; but when the purpose 
for which this was done is accomplished, they return the pieces 
of the kalduke to the original owner, and then they may hold 
intercourse with e^ch other again. 

I do not, however, think that the natives know the real origin 
and meaning of this custom. I think it probable that it may 
have arisen from this circumstance. The natives never marry 
into their own lakalinyeri, or tribe. Nevertheless it often 
happens that those who belong to different lakalinyeris are too 
nearly related to be allowed to marry. Frequently, but not 
always, in such cases, the custom of ngia-ngiampe is observed, and 
such near relations are thus prevented from entering upon the 
marital relation with each other. 

The Tendi. 

The form of government amongst the Narrinyeri was much 
more complete and regular than would have been expected 
amongst such a barbarous people. They actually have an 
institution which is extremely like our trial by jury, and they 
have had it from time immemorial. 

This they call the Tendi. It is the judgment council of the 
elders of the clan. Every clan has its tendi. The number of 
the tendi is not fixed; it appears to be regulated by the size of 
the clan; but it always consists of experienced elderly men. 
When any member of the tendi dies, the surviving members 
select a suitable man from the clan to succeed him. This council 
is presided over by the chief or rupulle of the clan. He is 
generally chosen for his ready speech, temper, and capacity for 
authority. The office is not hereditary but elective in the council 
itself. A seat in the tendi is called "tendi lewurmi," the judgment 
seat. All offenders are brought to this tribunal for trial. In case of 
the slaying by a person or pei'sons of one clan of the member of 
another clan in time of peace, the fellow-clansmen of the mur- 
dered man will send to the friends of the murderer and invite 
them to bring him to trial before the united tendies. If, after 


full inquiry, he is found to have committed the crime, he will be 
punished according to the degree of guilt. If it were a case of 
murder, with malice aforethought, he would be handed over to 
his own dan to be put to death by spearing. If it should be what 
we call manslaughter, he would receive a good thrashing, or be 
banished from his clan, or compelled to go to his mother's relations. 

All cas^s of infraction of law or custom were tried thus. 
A common sentence for any public offence was so many 
blows on the head. A man was compelled to hold his head 
down to receive the stroke of the waddy, and would be felled 
like a buUock; then get up and take another and another, until 
it was a wonder how it was that his skull was not fractured. 

It is this tendi which so often causes natives to leave work 
suddenly and mysteriously, and go off to some meeting of their 
people. An interesting trial is to come off, in which, perhaps, 
they are witnesses, or, at any rate, concerned. I have been at 
the tendi. I find the following entry in my journal: — 

I went to the camp to-day. They were holding the tendi. 
There are about 200 natives here, and they were nearly all 
present. It appeared to be a united tendi of two clans which 
had met to settle some dispute. There were forty-six men 
present, who took part in the talking, either as councillors or 
witnesses, I suppose. The tendi took place at a distance from 
the camp, and was arranged in two parties all decently seated on 
the ground, opposite each other. On one side was our clan, with 
King Peter sitting in a very dignified manner at their head as 
president, and on the other was the Coorong dan, over whom old 
Minora presided. Several men of the Murray and Mundoo 
clans sat at the side, between the two parties, and joined in the 
discassion, apparently as amid curicB, The matter under con- 
sideration was a case of suspected murder. The Point Malcolm 
clan were accusers, and the Coorong clan defendants. A young 
man had died under suspicious circumstances; the latter clan 
asserted the death to have been purely accidental, while the 
former brought forward witnesses who deposed to reasons for 
soapeeiiDg that certain men of the Coorong had been guilty 

D 2 


of foul play. I cannot give the natives credit for much order 
in their method of conducting business. There was a tremendous 
amount of talk. Sometimes one would speak, then half-a-dozen 
would all speak together in an excited and vociferous manner, 
then some friend would interject an exclamation. I could not 
make out the drift of the discussion. If it had been English it 
would have been bad enough, but in Native it was incompre- 
hensible. I afterwards heard that the tendi broke up without 
any decision being arrived at. 

I was told by a very trustworthy native a remarkable circum- 
stance connected with the tendi, and the ideas of these people on 
the subject: — "An old man, the imcle of my informant, who was 
then a boy about ten years old, was very ill. This was some 
thirty-five years ago, and before the clan to which he belonged 
had any intercourse at all with Europeans. During the old 
man 8 illness he was assiduously attended by his fi*iends, for he 
was much beloved. His nephew was continually at his bedside. 
At last death was manifestly approaching, and the sufferer was 
being supported in the arms of his friends, who expected every 
minute to be his last. As he lay there he pointed upwards 
to heaven and said in the Potauwallin dialect, 'Tand an amb 
Kiathangk waiithamb,** which is to say, 'My tendi — or judg- 
ment — is up there.' It was a remarkable recognition of a 
judgment to come, by one in heathen darkness. My informant, 
who is a believer in Jesus, said the words of the old man ever 
after stuck in his memory. He also said it was not uncommon 
to hear the aged men say that there was a tendi in the heavens 
for the spirits of those who died." 

I am rather sorry that the tendi is not so potent as it used to 
be amongst the natives. It is still resorted to as an exceUent 
means of discussing and disposing of difficulties, but its penalties 
cannot always be carried out. I have no doubt that men of the 
Narrinyeri have suffered imprisonment at the hands of the 
whites for carrying out the sentence of the tendi in cases where 
it awarded substantial justice against offenders. 

* This in the Point Malcolm dialect would be ''Tand in amb keraa waiirrangk.** 



The Narrinyeri dwell in a country where there has always 
been a stem necessity to hunt for food. They have not, like the 
Pol}mesians, a country which produces almost spontaneously a 
subsistence for the inhabitants. Hence, the amusements of 
the Narrinyeri have always consisted in practising those arts 
which were necessary to get a living. They have practised 
8j)ear and boomerang throwing in order to gain expertness, so 
as to get game with more certainty. They showed great 
dexterity in the use of the reed spear, or kaike; the shaft of 
which is a stout reed, and the point, about a foot long, of hard 
and heavy wood. It is throvm with a taralye or throwing stick. 
I have known a man killed by one of these spears at ninety 
yards, and the weapon passed through his bark shield too. I 
have known one pass through a thick shield and take a man's 
eye out. The principal amusement of youths formerly consisted 
in practising speai'-throwing. 

The Narrinyeri have a game at ball. A number of men stand 
round, and one pitches the ball to another on the other side 
of the party, and those near try to catch it. The sport gives 
occasion to a great deal of wrestling and activity. 

Another game is a sort of wrestling match for the possession 
of a bunch of feathers. 

At night, what the whites call a corrobery, but which is called 
by the Narryinyeri, ringbalin, is the favourite amusement. 

There are many kinds of corroberies, but the main thing 
in all of them is the song and dance. Skin rugs are rolled 
up tightly, and beaten by the fist, as they lie in front of the 
beater, who squats on the ground. These are called planggi, 
and the drumming is called plangkumbalin. The men knock 
two waddies together, these are called tartengk, and this 
practice is called tartembarrin. By these means they beat time 
to the song or chant. In most ringbalin only the men dance; 
the women sit on the ground and sing. The songs are some- 
times bannlesB, and the dances not indecent; but at other times 


the songs will consist of the vilest obscenity. I have seen 
dances which were the most disgusting displays of obscene 
gesture possible to be imagined, and although I stood in the 
dark alone, and nobody knew that I was there, I felt ashamed 
to look upon such abominations. There are also war dances. I 
have felt the ground almost tremble with the measured tramp of 
some hundreds of excited men just before a fight. The dances 
of the women are very immodest and lewd. The men sit and 
sing, and the women dance. In Cobbin's Family Bible is a 
picture, at Luke vii. 32, of the dance of Egyptian women. If it 
had been drawn for a dance of Narrinyeri women it could not 
have been more exact. The corroibery of the natives is not 
necessarily a religious observance; there is nothing of worship 
connected with it. It is used as a charm to frighten away 
disease, and also in some ceremonies, but its real character is 
only that of a song and a dance. 

I have often been asked for one of the corrobery songs, and a 
translation of it. It is exceedingly difficult to get. Their songs 
consist principally of words descriptive of incidents of travel or 
hunting or war. I never heard of one which was not of this 
character. A party will go to the country of another tribe; then 
one of them, who has the talent, will make up a song, descriptive 
of what they saw, and the adventures which happened to them. 
This will be learnt by the others; and they will sing it at the 
first corrobery in the tribe. At other times a hunting adventure 
will form the subject of such a song, and, having been learnt, 
will be sung. Once, when I was coming up in the boat from 
Goolwa, Captain Jack kept on singing. I asked him what he 
was singing. He replied about that turkey upon the front of 
the house at the Groolwa. On making more particular inquiry I 
found that the said turkey was the gilt figure-head of a ship, 
representing an eagle, which had been saved from a wreck and 
fastened up over a shop front in that township. This had 
attracted the attention of my native friends; and so Captain 
Jack had set himself to make a song about it, and succeeded in 
constructing a ditty, which, after a line or two descriptive, broke 


out in a chorus — " the turkey at the Goolwa, the turkey at 
the Goolwa!" 

The following is a song in native: — 

Puntin Narrinyerar Puntin Narrinyerar 0, 0, O 

Puntin Narrinyerar O, O, 0, O, O 

Yun terpulani ar 

Tuppun an wangamar 

Tyiwewar ngoppun ar 0, O, O, O 

Puntin Narrinyerar, &c. 

Translated this is — " The Narrinyeri are coming, soon they will 
appear, carrying kangaroos, quickly they are walking." 


On "The Railway Train." 

Werentou nar a lew a Kapunda, 

Yung in al in a kawil, 

Yreyin tyiwewar. Kuldi nrottulun 

Pumpundathun tyiwewang a rang taltammolun. 

Fret Translation, 

You see the smoke at Kapunda, 
The steam putfs regularly. 
Showing quickly, it looks like frost, 
It runs like running water, 
It blows like a spouting whale. 

The atx)ve is a very imperfect attempt to render the corrobery in EInglish. 
The idea of the composition seems to be, first to describe the subject, then in the 
oourse of the song to multiply descriptive ailjectives giving a vivid idea of the 
■oene, and also to throw in any comparisons which may be illustrative, and the 
wiiole with abundant interjections of wonder, and gesticulations. 



Weapons — Manufactures — Taking Game — Cookino — - 
Diseases— Medical Treatment. 

The productions of a barbarous people are always scanty in 
quantity and inferior in quality; but they are interesting, and 
often direct our attention to materials which would probably 
be otherwise overlooked in our plenitude of resources, but which 
the necessities of the uncivilised have led them to search out for 

Each tribe of the Narrinyeri has been accustomed to make 
those articles which their tract of country enabled them to 
produce most easily. One tribe will make weapons, another 
mats, and a third nets; and then they barter them one with the 


They make their weapons from the hard wood which grows in 
tlieir country. Heavy spears generally come from the Upper 
Murray natives, and are highly valued. They are made of tie 
hard and elastic miall wood, and are formidable weapons. Some 
of the spears made by the Narrinyeri are barbed with spicules of 
flint. They are called meralkaipari, or deadly spears. The 
commonest spear is the kaike, or reed spear. It is made by 
fastening a point of hard, heavy wood, about two feet long, to a 
shaft formed of a stout reed, or else a dried grasstree stick (Xan- 
thorrhoea), called nglaiye. This spear is thrown with the booked 
taralye, or throwing stick. I have seen it pierce a dead tree so 
deeply that it took a very strong pull to extract the point from 
the wood. Their shields are made of wood or bark of the red 
gum tree. Their clubs are of wood. The patience exhibited in 
the cutting of some of them with their rude implements is 



They make canoes of the bark of the red gum tree stripped off 
in large sheets. These sheets are laid on the ground and the 
sides and ends encouraged to curl up to the proper shape while 
it is drying by being tied with cords strained from side to side 
and end to end, and stones are placed in the bottom. But these 
bark canoes, although handy when new, soon get sodden and 
break. They seldom last more than twelve months. 

The Narrinyeri make fishing lines and twine from two kinds 
of fibre. One is a blue rush which grows in the scrub; the 
other is the root of a flag or bulrush which grows in fresh water, 
and is called menungkeri. The rushes or roots are first of all 
either boiled or steamed in the native oven, and then chewed by 
the women. A party of them will sit round the fire and masti- 
cate the fibrous material by the hour. While they do so, the 
ma&ses of fibre which have been chewed are handed to the men 
who sit bj', and they work it up, by twisting it on the thigh 
into hanks of twine, either stout or fine, according to the purpose 
to which it is to be applied. Others receive the twine as fast as 
it is made, and make it into nets. They wind the twine on a short 
stick, which is used as the netting needle. The only measure of 
the size of the mesh is the finger of the netter, and yet their nets 
are wonderfully regular. The stitch is exactly the same as ours, 
but it is taken over and towards the netter instead of imder as 
we do. They make lengths of this net about four feet wide, and 
tie straight sticks of mallee across it to keep it open, then a num- 
ber of lengths are tied together end to end, and it is used for 
catching fish or moulting ducks in the usual way. Most of the wild 
fowl on the lakes are unable to fly in the moulting season; they 
then betake themselves to the reeds. A net is put by the natives 
round a clump of reeds, beaters are sent in to drive out the 
ducks, which rush into the nets and are captured by scores. 

The Narrinyeri were not acquainted with fishing by means of 
hooks before the white man came. They soon learned to appre- 
ciate this method, and made native lines to use wiUi European 


fishhooks. Fish are also caught with the three-pronged fishing 
spear. This weapon is a slender pole, about fourteen feet long, 
with three points of sharp bone lashed to its top with twine. 
Every native carries one in his canoe. The men ai-e very expert 
in the use of them. They are used in much the same way as our 
eel spear. A man will stand in a canoe silently watching with 
uplifted spear until a fish comes beneath, when the weapon is 
darted down on its back, and it is lifted transfixed from the water. 

Wild fowl are caught by means of a long wand with a noose 
at the end. A native lurks silently amongst the reeds with this 
in his hand. It looks like a reed. It is slipped over the head of 
the first unsuspecting duck or other water fowl which comes near 
enough, and it is dragged to its captor. 

The reed spear, before guns were introduced, was employed 
with considerable efiect against the dense flocks of widgeon 
(native, punkeri) which abound on the lakes. The natives 
would send the spear into the &ying flock and transfix the birds 
as they flew crowded together. In this manner they killed 


Before the coming of the whites the natives never had any 
hot water, because they had nothing to boil it in. Their vessels 
at that time were the shells of the fresh water tortoise (emj's), 
human skulls with the sutures stopped up with a resinous gum 
called pitchingga, also the skins of small species of kangaroo, 
such as wallabies, stripped from the animal and made into a skin 

Their method of cooking was either by roasting on the embers, 
which they do very nicely, and, where they are clean people, very 
cleanly; and steaming in the native oven. The oven is used in 
the following manner: — A large fire is made, and into it is 
thrown lumps of stone about three inches in diameter. Then a 
hole is made in the ground and a fire kindled in it, which is 
sufiered to bum down to glowing embers. Then the pieces of 
heated stone are placed on the embers in such a way as to secure 
a pretty level surface. On the top of this green grass is laid. 


then upon the grass the animal or meat to be cooked, more grass 
is heaped on the meat, then more hot stones on top of that, and 
then over all is placed a quantity of earth or sand. As the cook- 
ing goes on a smooth pointed stick will be thrust down through 
to reach the lowest hot stones without touching the food, and 
then withdrawn; water is then poured into the hole made by the 
stick to increase the steam below. When the food is supposed 
to be cooked, the top earth is carefully taken away, then the 
stones and grass, and there is the meat. I can assure the reader 
that the savoury smell of meat cooked thus is most appetizing. 

The only sweets which the Narrinyeri knew of, before the 
advent of Europeans, were the honey of the native honeysuckle 
or Banksia, the honey of the grasstree flowers (Xanthorrhoea), 
and the manua which falls from the peppermint gum (Eucaljrptus) ; 
these they used to gather carefully, and infuse them in water, 
and drink the infusion with great enjoyment. 

The Narrinyeri make a great many mats and baskets of differ- 
ent kinds. Most of them are made of rushes, worked together 
with a sort of stitch. Baskets and mats of various shapes are 
thus produced. Another kind of mat is made of the bark of the 
mallee scrub, dried and beaten into a fibrous mass. This is 
worked together with meshes, and makes a thick durable mat. 
Sometimes a quantity of the shaggy sea weed, which is found on 
the shore, is washed in fresh water and dried, and worked into 
the mat, forming a soi-t of shaggy nap. Such a mat would be 
used as a bed. 

The Aborigines obtain a great many skins of wild animals, 
and p^ them out on the ground until they are dry. Kangaroo 
and other large skins are used in this state as mats to keep off 
the damp when camping on damp ground. Oppossum skins, 
after they are dried, are carefully scraped, then scored across the 
Heshy side with a sharp stone or shell to make them flexible, 
and, after being cut into squares, sewn together with the small 
sinews of a kangaroo^s tail, and an excellent wann rug Ls produced. 
Now-a-days common European thread is used to sew the skins 
together, but the rugs are not so durable. 



The principal diseases to which these tribes of Aborigines are 
subject are of a scrofulous nature. The tendency to tuberculosis is 
seen in childhood in the form of tabes mesenterica, and sometimes 
of hydrocephalus. Towards the age of puberty it is developed 
as pulmonary consumption. Sometimes it is canied off befor^ 
the age of puberty by induration and ulceration of the glands of 
the neck. The above are the most fatal diseases amongst the 
Narrinyeri; the majority of deaths are caused by them. The 
other diseases to which they are subject are liver complaint, 
diarrhoea and dysentery, and, rarely, brain fever. I have never 
known a case of intermittent fever amongst them. Of course 
they are subject to inflammation of the bowels, kidneys, liver 
lungs, and throat. They have amongst them a skin disease, 
which they call wirrullume; it resembles pustular itch,* but it 
is not communicable to Europeans; even half-castes seldom 
have it, although they may sleep with persons suffering from it 
The application of sulphur is a specific against the wirrullume. 
I have never known a native to have the measles."^ This disease 
has at different times prevailed amoDgst the whites, but the 
blacks, although constantly about the dwellings of those labour- 
ing under it, never caught it. This is remarkable when we 
remember what devastation this disease caused in the islands of 
Poljoiesia. I have never known a case of scarlatina amongst 
the Aborigines, although it was very prevalent some years ago 
amongst the whites; and I have reason to believe that a great 
deal of clothing from houses infected by the disease was given to 
the natives. 

The natives are very subject to epidemic influenza, which they 
call nruwi. 

They have a tradition that some sixty years ago a terrible 
disease came down the River Murray, and carried off the natives 

* Some medical men have said that it was impetigo contagiosa. 

t Since writing the above, I have known of a few having measles, but very few, 
and although no precautions were taken against contagion, the disease did not 


by hundreds. This must have been small-pox, as many of the 
old people now have their faces pitted who suffered from the 
disease in childhood. The destruction of life was so great aa 
to seriously diminish the tribes. The natives always represent 
that before this scourge arrived they were much more numerous. 
They say that so many died that they could not perform the 
usual funereal rites for the dead, but were compelled to bury 
them at ouce out of the way. I think that there must have been 
more than one visitation of this kind, judging fi'om the age of 
those who are pock-marked.* The Narrinyeri attribute all 
diseases to witchcraft; consequently they employ as remedies 
certain countercharms. A man wUl mutter a sort of incantation 
over a diseased person for the purpose of dispelling the malignant 
influence from which he is suffering. There are amongst the 
natives certain men who claim to be doctors. Their method of 
treatment is partly by incantations, mutterings, tappings, and 
blowings; and parly by vigorous squeezing and kneading of the 
affected part. The doctor will kneel upon his patient, and 
squeeze him imtil he groans with the infliction. This Ls supposed 
to press out the wiwin*i or disease. In cases of rheumatism 
they employ a sort of vapour bath which is prepared as fol- 
lows: — They make a fire, and heat stones, as if for cooking; then 
they make a sort of stage with sticks, and the patient is put 
thereon Under the stage they put some of the hot stones, and, 
having first covered up the sick person with rugs, all but his 
head, and closed in the place where the hot stones are in the 
same way, they put wet water-weed on the stone, and the steam 
ascends under the rugs and envelopes the body of the patient. 
This method of cure is often found very effectual."^ 

But their methods of treating the sick often appear to us very 
absurd. I have felt amused and yet soiTy when going to the 

* Along the shore of Lake Alexaiulrina are some large mounds of earth. One 
of these, at Pultowar, was opened last year, and found to contain scores of human 
skeletons arranged in rows. These were probably the victims of small-pox. 

i Since I wrote the above I have been informetl by one of the surgeons of the 
Adelaide Hospital that he has good reason to believe that the Aborigines often 
suffer from hydatids in the liver. 


wurley to see a sick youth, perhaps, and to find his grey-bearded 
old father, stark naked, performing a solemn dance before his 
son, singing and beating time with the tartengk. I have known 
an old native keep it up for an hour, and, of course, feel con- 
vinced that he had done wonders towards restoring his boy to 

There used to be a class of doctors amongst the natives called 
kuldukke men. They were great impostors; their impositions 
and lying became notorious around the lakes. Their method 
of procedure was by dancing, whistling, incantations, and 
squeezing the diseased part. They used by sleight-of-hand to 
produce extraordinay substances from those parts which were 
afflicted. I knew a white man who for a joke submitted himself 
to the kuldukkes, in order ,to cure an attack of rheumatism in 
the shoulder. The doctors muttered charms, and whistled, and 
blew, and danced, and at last produced a small piece of the leg of 
an old chair, which had been kicking about in the back yard for 
weeks before, and solemnly declared that they had extracted it 
from the diseased shoulder. These kuldukkes soon ceased to 
exert influence amongst the natives, and their practice has died 
out. One circumstance which contributed to this result was the 
following: — There was an intelligent native at Goolwa, named 
Solomon. He used to be regularly employed by settlers in that 
neighbourhood. One day Solomon went to work after breakfast, 
leaving instructions with his wife to make a couple of dampers 
for their dinner. This was soon accomplished, and two dampers 
and a small cake awaited the return of their owner to his mid- 
day meal Just then a lot of kuldukke men passed the hut, and 
looked in rather inquisitively. Presently they told Solomon's 
wife, who was known to be a superstitious body, that they could 
see a spirit, the dreadful Melapi, coming across the ocean, and 
that he would be certain to hurt her husband unless he were 
driven away. This they ofiered to do by their enchantments if 
she would give them one of those dampers. The poor foolish 
woman believed their story, and one of the dampers was soon 
devoured. The kuldukkes then began dancing, whistling, point- 


ing spears, and muttering charms in a very energetic manner. 
In a quarter of an hour they came and said that their strength 
was insufficient, and that they must have another damper. With 
a sigh the wife handed over a second fee. They then danced 
about still more vigorously, and made demonstrations which 
might fairly be supposed sufficient to frighten a demon; and then 
they came and told the woman that the mighty deed was done, 
her husband was safe, the evil spirit had departed; and then 
they rapidly followed his example. Just then Solomon appeared 
in sight, ready for dinner. Extremely long was the face which 
he pulled when he heard the story, and found there was only 
a very small cake remainiug for his meaL With a deeply injured 
expression, he said to his wife, "What for, you big one stupid, let 
em kuldukke men cheat you? Him no look out Melapi, him only 
look out my dinner.** 

It is remarkable that the Narrinyeri have no idea of poison. 
Unlike some other Australian tribes they know nothing of any 
poisonous herbs or plants. They were very much astonished 
when Europeans showed them how death could be produced by 
something taken into the stomach; they had never known any 
person killed in this way before. 

The firm opinion of all natives appears to be that death is 
not natural to man, but is always produced by sorcery.* 

* Hooping-cough U one of the most fatal diaeases introduced amongst the Abo- 
riginea by Ruropeana. 




For many years I had been aware that the system of relation- 
ships amongst the Aborigines was different from ours, and had 
prepared a table of degrees of kinship: but I had not arranged 
them into a system. Some few months ago I received the 
following information in a circular, from the Rev. Lorimer 
Fison, of Victoria: — 

Sydney, March 6th, 1871. 

Sir, — About twenty years ago Mr. Lewis H. Morgan, of Rochester, New York, 
discovered among the Iroquois Indians an elaborate system of kinship widely 
differing from ours. Subsequent extensive inquiries carried on by this gentleman, 
imder the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, U.S., disclosed 
the astonishing fact that this complicated system is in use not only among all the 
North American Indian tribes, but also among the Tamil and Telugu peoples of 
Southern India, who number some twenty-eight millions. 

Having made inquiries among the Fijians and the Friendly Islanders, at the 
instance of Professor Goldwin Smith, of the Cornell University, I found the 
system prevailing among all their tribes, and have moreover lately met with 
unmistakable traces thereof among the aborigines of Queensland. 

The chief peculiarities of the Tamilian system may be briefly stated a» 
follows : — 

1. I being male, the children of my brothers are my sons and daughters, while 
the children of my sisters are my nephews and nieces ; but the grandchildren of 
my sisters, as well as those of my brothers, are my grandchildren. 

2. I being a female, the children of my sisters are my sons and daughters, while 
the children of my brothers are my nephews and nieces ; but the grandchildren of 
my brothers, as well as those of my sisters, are my grandchildren. 

3. All my father's brothers are my fathers, but all my father's sisters are my 

4. All my mother's sisters are my mothers, but all my mother's brothers are 
my uncles. 

5. The children of my father's brothers are my brothers and sisters, so also are 
the children of my mother's sisters ; but the children of my father's sisters and 
those of my mother's brothers are my cousins. 

G. I being male, the children of my male cousins are my nephews and nieces, 
but the children of my female cousins are my sous and daughters. 

[NoU, — Tfiefte relatiofUfhipH are reversed in the Xorth American Indian system^ and 
this M the only important point whereon that i^i/st^m differs from the Tamil,] 

7. All the brothers of my grandfathers and those of my grandmothers are my 
grandfathers : all their sisters are my grandmothers. 


8. There ia one term for my elder and another for my younger brother ; bo also 
for my listers, elder or younger. Hence there is no collective term by which I 
can indicate all my brothers, or all my sisters, unless I be either the eldest or the 
youngest of the family. 

Upon reading this it was at once suggested to me that here was 
the key to the system of relationships among the Narrinyeri. 
Upon refening to my table, drawn up years before, and also 
making inquiry amongst the most intelligent natives, I found 
that their system agreed with the Tamilian in most particulars.* 

The following is the system of relationship amongst the 
Narrinyeri: — 

1. I being male, the children of my brothers are my sons and 
daughters, the same as my own children are; while the children 
of my sisters are my nephews and nieces. The grandchildren of 
my brothers are called maiyarare; while the grandchildren of 
my sisters are called mutthari. 

2. I being female, the children of my .sisters are my sons and 
daughters, the same as my own sons and daughters are; while 
the children of my brothers are my nephews and nieces; conse- 
quently it is common to hear a native address as nanghy, or my 
father, the man who is his fathers brother, as well as his own 
father; and as nainkowa, or my mother, the woman who is his 
mother's sister, as well as his own mother. 

3. All my father's brothers are my fathers, but all my father's 
sisters are my aunts. But my father s elder brothers have the 
distinguishing title of ngoppano, and his j'ounger have the title 
wyatte. These terms would be used in the presence of my own 
father. Tiie name for aunt is bamo. 

4. All my mother's sisters are my mothers, but all my mother s 
brothers are my uucles. Wanowe is the word for uncle. 

5. The children of my father s brothers are my brothers and 
sisters, and so are the children of my mothers sisters; but the 
children of nij- father's sisters, and those of my mother's brothers, 
are mj" cousins. The word for cousin is nguyanowe. 

* I find that the Tamilian system also prevails amongst the Mem nation, who 
occupy the countr>' next to the Narrinyeri, on the River Murray. 




6. I being male, the children of my male and female cousins 
are called by the same name as the grandchildren of my sisters, 

7. The brothers of my grandfathers, and those of my grand- 
mothers, and also their sisters, are my grandfathers and grand- 
mothers. Whatever title my father's father has, his brothers 
have; and so of the sisters of my mother s mother. 

8. My elder brother is called geianowe, and my younger 
brother is called tarte. My elder sister is called maranowe, and 
my younger sister is called tarte. There is no collective term by 
which I can designate all my brothers and sisters, whether older 
or younger than myself. 

9. The Narrinyeri make a difference in the termination of 
relationships, according as they are used in the first, second, or 
third person. Thus: — 

Nanghai, is my father. 
Ngaiowe, your father. 
Yikowalle, his father. 
Nainkowa, my mother. 
Ninkuwe, your mother. 
Narkowalle, his mother. 

Geianowe, my elder brother. 
Gelauwe, your elder brother. 
Gelauwalle, his elder brother. 
Maranowe, my elder sister. 
Marauwe, your elder sister. 
Marauwalle, his elder sister. 

Generally the difference in the terminations is nowe for my, 
auwe for your, and walle for his or hers. 

A father and child, when spoken of together, are called 
retulengk; mother and child, ratulengk. 

10. The Narrinyeri have words which signify bereaved 
persons answering to our words widow and widower. 

A widower, is Bandi. 
A widow, Yortangi. 
One bereaved of a child, Main- 

Fatherless, Kukathe. 
Motherless, Kulgutye. 
One bereaved of a brother or 
sister, Muntyuli. 

These particulars may not be very interesting, but they are 
important as indications of the race to which the Aborigines 


belong. They are also proofs of the precision and nicety of 
expression to be found in their language. 

The general scheme of relationship being the same as the 
Tamil and Telugu races in Southern India would go far to 
make us believe that the Australian Aborigines originally came 
from India. There seems a probability that their original seats 
were the E&st India Islands and the Malayan peninsula, and 
that they were dispossessed and driven southwards by the 
Malays; even as the Aboriginal races of India were dispossessed 
by the invasion of the Aryan tribes. 

The subject of relationship is nearly allied to that of names of 
persons. The Aboriginal method of naming possesses some 

A child receives a name as soon as it can walk, to name it 
earlier is considered imlucky. The name is generally significant 
of the place of birth, as Rilgewal, one bom at a place called 
Rilge. A name is by no means permanent. A new name will 
be given on some particular occasion, such as arriving at 
manhood. Names are dropped and new ones taken if a person 
bearing the name happens to die. It is also very common for a 
mother or father to bear the name of a child. This is effected 
by adding the termination ami for father, or anikke for mother, 
to the name of the child. For instance, Koolmatinye ami is the 
father of Koolmatinyeri; and Koolmatinye anikke is the mother 
of Koolmatinyeri. 

The following are significant names of men and women: — 

Putteri— The end. 

Ngiampinyeri— Belonging to the back or loins. 
Maratinyeri — Belonging to emptiness. 
Waldaninyeri — Belonging to summer. 

There are also dual names borne by single persons, all females; 
Pombinga, Nautaringa, Meteringa. 

Property always descends from father to son. A brothers 
property always is transmitted to the brother's children, in cases 
where he dies without children of his own. 

E 2 




Description of Relationship. 

My father 

My father's brother 
My mother ... 
My mother's sister ... 
My father's second wife 

My stepmother 

My fatner's sister 

My mother*s brother's wife 

My mother's brother 

My father's sister's husband 

My son or xlauffhter 

My brother's children 

My grandson 

My ffranddaugfater ... 

My brother's grandson 

My brother's granddaughter 

My father's brother's son's son ... 

My father's brother's son's daughter 

My elder sister 

My father's brother's daughter (if older 

than myself) 
My mother's sister's daughter (if older 

than myself) 
The relations last mentioned (if younger 

than myself), also my younger sister... 

My elder orother 

My father's brother's son 

My mother s sister's son 

Mv younger brother and the relations 

last mentioned (if younger than myself) 

Native Term. 



My vounger brother's son 

My brother's daughter 

My elder brother's son 

My son's wife 

My brother's son's wife 

My daughter's husband 

My brotner's daughter's husband 

My wife's father 

My niece's husband 

My sister's son (I being a male) ... 
My mother's sister's grandchildren 

My sister's daughter 

My father's brother's daughter's daughter 
My niece's husband (I bemg a male) 

My sister's son (I being a female) ... ) 

My sister's daughter (I being a female)... ( 

I being a female : — ^ 

My brother's son | 

My brother's daughter j- 

My mother's sister's son's sons and J 
daughters... ... .*• ... ...J 













Nanghari, ad- 
dressed as Ung 






My mother 

My aunt 

My uncle 

My child (I being a 

SMv grandchild (I 
being a male) 

My sister 

My younger sitter 
My elder brother 

My younger brother 

(A title to distin- 
guish them from 
my own children) 
(The same) 
My dauffhter-in- 
law. They call 
me the same 
A reciprocal term 
by which a father 
• -in-law and a son 
-in-law address 
each other 


A term for a ne* 
phew or niece of 
this kindred 

My son-in-law 
A term to distin- 
guish them from 
my own children 

A nephew or niec» 
of this kindred 



Description of Kklattonshif. 

Nativs Term. 


I bein^ a male: — 

My siitera son's wife 

My sister's grandson 

My sister's granddaughter (I being 

female) ... ... «•• 

My sister's grandson (I being a female) 

My sister's granddaaghter 

My father's sister's son's wife (I being 

either male or female) 

My mother's brother's son's wife... 
My mother's brother's son's son ... 
My mother's brother's son's dauffhter 
My mother's brother's daushter^ son 
My mother's brother's danmter'sdaughter , 
My mother's brother's child 
My father's sister's son 
My father's sister's daughter 
My father's brother's daushter's husband 

(also my son's daughter 8 husband) 
My father's sister's £mghter's husbakd.. 
My mother's sister's daughter's husband I 

My wife's brother J 

My mother's brother's daughter's husband 

My mother's sister's son's wife A\ m«„iiwv™.ii 

mJ father's brother's son's wife \ , ^g^^^^^ 

My sister's son's wife (I being a male) 
A woman's brother's wife ... 
My wife's sister's husband 
My wife's sister 





My father's father 

My father's father's brother 

My father's father's sister 

My father's mother 

Her brother ... 
Her sister 

My mother's father 

His brother 

His sister 

My mother's mother 

I beinj^ a female : — 
My daughter's child 

I being a female : — 

My son-in-law 

Mv daughter-in-law 

Also (I being a male) my wife's mother 

m ^v aSB ••• ••• ■•• ••• 





I Ngaityanowe 

Bakkano, kuru* 
I kunu 

' Bakkari 



Grand relation 
This is nearest 
term we have in 

Rn gliali 



No equivalent 



Grand relation 

Grand relation 


I Grand relation 


; I A reciprocal term. 
I \ No e<iuivalent in 

I English 

The following are the words for relationships in Tamil, accord- 
ing to the Rev. E. C. Scudder, of Vellore ; Rev. Miron Winslow, 
D.D., of Madras ; Rev. Wm, Tracey, of Madura ; and Rev. ilr. 
Symons, of Bangalore, South India : — 

My father— En takappan. 

My father's elder brother— En periya takappan (great father). 

My father's younger brother — En seriya takappan (little father). 


My father's sister— En attaL 

My fatl^er's sister's son, older than myself (I being a male) — En attan, or 

My father's sister's son, older than myself (I being a female) — En machchan. 

My father's sister's son younger than myself (I being a male) — En attan, or 

My father's sister's son, younger than myself (I being a female) — En machchan. 

My mother — Ed. tay. 

My mother's elder sister — "Ed. periya tay. 

My mother's younger sister — EIn seriya tay. 

My mother's brother — Ed. maman. His wife — En mame. 

My mother's brother's son — En maitunan. 

My mother's brother's daughter — Maittuni, or (I being a female) maccharL 

My father's father — Ed paddan. 

My mother's mother — Ed paddi. 

My grandson — En peran. My granddaughter — En pertti. 

My elder brother (I being a male or female) — En tamaiyan, or annan. 

My elder sister (according as the speaker is male or female) — En akkarl, or 

My younger brother — Ed tambL My younger sister — En tangaichi, or 

My brothers (the speaker being a male) — En annan tambi mar. 

My brothers (the speaker being a female) — En sakotherar. 

My sisters (the speaker being a male) — En tamakay tangay mar. 

My sisters (I being a female) — Ehi sakothackal. 

A man's brother's children are his sons and daughters. 

A man's sister's children are his nephews and nieces. 




The Narrinyeri call the Supreme Being by two names, Nurun- 
dere and Martummere. He is said to have made all things on 
the earth, and to have given to men the weapons of war and hunt- 
ing. Nurundere instituted all the rites and ceremonies which 
are practised by the Aborigines, whether connected with life or 
death. On inquiring why they adhere to any custom, the reply 
is, because Nurundere commanded it. On one occasion I had an 
instance of this. I was out with the tribe on a great kangaroo 
hunt, at which about 150 natives were present. On reaching the 
hunting-ground, a wallaby, which had been killed on the road 
thither, was produced, and a fire kindled by the women. Tlien 
the men, standing round, struck up a sort of chant, at the same 
time stamping with their feet. The wallaby was put on the fire, 
and as the smoke from it ascended, the hunters, at a concerted 
signal, rushed towards it, lifting their weapoas towards heaven, 
and making a loud shout in chorus. I afterwards learned that 
this ceremony was instituted by Nurundere, and it appeared to 
me very much like a sacrifice to the god of hunting. I have 
several times seen it performed since. 

Although the natives say that Nurundere made all things, and 
that he now lives in Wyirrewarre, yet they tell many ridiculous 
traditions about his doings when he inhabitated the earth, as he 
is at one time said to have done. 

. He is represented to have been a great hunter, and there were 
contemporary with him two other remarkable hunters named 
Nepelle and Wyungare. According to the natives they must 
have been a mighty race, and the game which they pursued 
gigantic, for the salt lagoons are the places where Wyungare and 
Nepelle used to peg out the skins of the immense kangaroos 
which they killed, and thus denuded them of grass. A uvoxsiA 


on the Peninsula is still pointed out as the remains of the hut of 

Once upon a time, it is said, that Nurundere and Nepelle 
together pursued an enormous fish in Lake Alexandrina, near 
Tipping.* Nepelle caught it, then Nurundere tore it in pieces, 
and threw the fragments into the water, and each piece became a 
fish, and thus pohde, tarke, tukkeri, and pommere, different 
kinds of fish, had their origin. But another sort of fish, 
tinuwarre (called bream by the whites), was produced in a 
different manner. Nurundere went to Tulurrug, and there 
finding some flat stones, he threw them into the Lake, and they 
became tinuwarre. 

Wyungare was a personage who had no father but only 
a mother. He resided at Rauwoke with his parent, and was 
narumbe from his infancy, that is, he was made a red man, 
or kaingani, and was a mighty hunter of kangaroos. Once 
he was amongst the reeds at Oulawar, drinking water by 
drawing it up with a reed from the Lake, and Nepelle s two 
wives passing by saw him, admired his handsome form, and fell 
in love with him. So they seized the first opportunity to visit 
his hut, and finding that he was asleep, they made a noise with 
their feet outside, like two emus running past, and awoke the 
hunter, who jumped up and ran out expecting to see some 
game. The two women met him with a shout of laughter, and 
throwing their arms round him, begged him to take them for his 
wives, to which he willingly consented. Of course Nepelle was 
very angry with all parties concerned at being treated so 
scandalously, and sought them at the hut of Wyungare ,-f but 
they were all absent, so he put fire in the hut, and told it to wait 
until Wyungare and the two women slept, and then to get up 
and bum them. In the evening they returned from hunting, 

* I have since heard a version of this legend in which it is said that Nurondere 
and his sons drove this great fish down the Darling and Murray to a place called 
Piltangk in Lake Alexandrina, and there obtained assistance from Nepelle to 
catch it. 

+ The hut of Wyungare is still pointed out by the natives, in the shape of a 
mound of limestone, at a place called Pulluwewal, near Point Macleay. 


and laid down and slept. They were soon awakened by the 
flames of the burning hut, and rushed out of it, but the fire 
pursued them. For miles they ran along the shore of the Lake, 
chased by the vengeful element, imtil they reached Lowanyeri, 
plimged themselves in the mud of the swamp there, and the fire 
was unable to reach them. Afraid of the implacable hatred 
displayed by Nepelle, Wyungare sought a means of escape. He 
determined to effect this by going up to Wyirrewarre to live 
there. So he tied a line to a spear, and hurled it at the heavens. 
It stuck in, and he proceeded to haul upon it for the purpose of 
raising himself, but found it would not hold, for it was unbarbed. 
Then he took a barbed spear and repeated the experiment, this 
time with success, for it held firmly in the sky, and by means of 
the line attached to it, he pulled himself up, and afterwards the 
two women. Three stars are still pointed out as Wyungare and 
his wives. He is said to sit up there and fish for men with a 
fishing-spear, and when people start in their sleep it is thought 
to be because he touches them with the point of his weapon. 
Before his ascent it is related that he took a gigantic kangaroo 
and tore it in pieces, and scattered the fragments through the 
scrub, and they became the comparatively small kangaroos which 
exist now. 

To return to the adventures of Nurundere. He had four 
children by his two wives. Once when he dwelt at Tulurrug two 
of his children strayed away into the scrub to the eastward, and 
were lost. Soon afterwards his two wives ran away from him. 
He pursued them, in company with his remaining children, 
to Encounter Bay, and there, seeing them at a distance, he 
exclaimed in anger, "Let the waters arise and drown them." 
So the waters arose in a terrible flood, and swept over the hills 
with fury, and, overtaking the fugitives, they were ovei'N^'helmed 
and drowned. At this time Nepelle lived at Rauwoke, and the 
flood was so great that he was obliged to pull his canoe to the 
top of the hill (that is Point Macleay); from thence it was 
transported to Wyirrewarre; the dense part of the milky way 
is said to be the canoe of Nepelle floating in the heavens. 


Then its owner, by using the same means as Wyungare had done, 
ascended thither also. 

Then Nurundere went up the Coorong in search of his two 
lost children. At Salt Creek he met with a blackfellow sitting 
by a fire. This man by some kind of sorcery endeavoured to 
detain Nurundere from proceeding on his way, at which 
Nurundere was angry, and they fought. He speared Nurundere 
in the thigh; but he laughed at the wound, and said it would 
not hurt him, and in return speared the blackfellow through the 
body and killed him. Afterwards Nurundere heard a noise in 
the bush which was near, and upon searching it, found his two 
lost children, who had been hidden there by the blackfellow 
whom he had slain. 

After these things Nurundere went to Wyirrewarre, taking 
his children with him.* The Narrinyeri always mention his 
name with reverence. I never heard them use it lightly or with 
levity; and if he invented such clever weapons as the taralye or 
throwing stick, and the panketye or boomerang, and the curved 
club called marpangye, I think he deserves their respectful 
recollection. My own opinion is that he is a deified chief, who 
has lived at some remote period. The natives regard thunder as 
the angry voice of Nurundere, and the rainbow as also a 
production of his. 

The legends of Nurundere are fast fading from the memory of 
the Aborigines. The yoimg people know very little about them, 
and it is only from the old people that the particulars of them 
can be obtained. 

The following are some legends related by the Rev. H. 
£. A. Meyer, in a pamphlet on the manners and customs of the 

* The natives say that they have some information about what befell this ex- 
traordinary personage after he quitted this mortal sphere. When Nurundere left 
the world he dived down under the ocean, and as he descended saw a great fire 
under the sea. He avoided this, and keeping away at last arrived at a land in the 
far west where he now resides. And it is said that aU the dead thus dive under 
the ocean and see the fire, but by avoiding it get to Nurundere. It appears they 
have an idea that there is one place in which if the dead go there they are con- 
fined, and compelled to stay, while there is another place in which all who reach 
it are free. 


Enoonnter Bay Tribe of Narrinyeri (the Raminyerar), published 
in 1846. These traditions were much better remembered 
amongst the natives then than now, and consequently this ac- 
count is very trustworthy. The above legends were collected by 
myself eighteen years ago. 

Meyer says of the Narrinyeri — 

"They do not appear to have any story of the origin of the world ; but nearly 
all animals they suppose anciently to have been men who performed great prodi- 
gies, and at last tnmsformed themselves into different kinds of animals and stones 1 
Thos the Raminjerar point out several large stones or points of rock along the 
beach whose sex and name they distinguish. One rock, they say, is an old man 
named Lime, upon which women and children are not allowed to tread ; but old 
people venture to do so from their long acquaintance with him. They point out 
his head, feet, hands, and also his hut and fire. For my part, I could see no re- 
semblance to any of these things except the hut. The occasion upon which he 
transformed himself was a follows : — A friend of his, Palpangye, paid him a visit, 
and brought him some tinwarrar (a kind of fish). Lime enjoyed them very much, 
and regretted that there were no rivers in the neighbourhood that he might catch 
them himself, as they are a river fish. Palpangye went into the bush and fetched 
a large tree, and, thrusting it into the ground in different places, water imme- 
diately began to flow and formed the Inman and Hindmarsh rivers. Lime, out 
of gratitude, gave him some kanmari (small sea fish), and transformed himself into 
a rock, the neighbourhood of which has ever since abounded in this kind of fish. 
Palpangye became a bird, and is frequently near the rivers. The steep hill and 
large ponds at Mootabarringar were produced by the dancing of their forefathers 
at that place. At the present time it is customary for two hundreil or three hun- 
dred natives to meet togetlier at their dances (or corrobbories, as they are called 
by the whites). At sunset a fire is made to give light. The women sit apart, 
with skins roUetl up and held between the knees, upon which they beat time. 
The young men are ornamented after their fashion with a tuft of emu feathers in 
the hair ; and those who are not i)ainted red ornament themselves with chalk by 
making circles round the eyes, a stroke along the nose, and dots upon the forehead 
and cheeks, while the rest of the body is covered with fanciful figures. One com- 
mences singing, and if all cannot join (for the songs are frequently in a different 
language, taken from some distant tril)e) he commences another song. If the song 
ia known tf> all, the women scream or yell out at the top of their voices, and the 
men commence a grotesque kind of dance, w)iich to us appears sufficiently 
ridiculous and amusing. It is upon an occasion like this that they represent their 
anceatort to have been assembled at Mootabarringar. Having no fire, this 
dance was held in the daytime, and the weather being very hot the perspiration 
flowed copiously from them and formed the large ponds, and the beating of their 
feet upon the ground produced the irregularities of surface in the form of the hills 
and ralleya. They sent messengers, Kuratje and Kanmari, towar<ls the east to 
Koodole to invite him to the feast, as they knew that he possessed fire. Kondole, 
who was a large, powerful man, came, but hid his fire, on account of which alone 
he had been xnvite<l. The men, displeased at this, determined to obtain the fire 
by force, but no one ventured to approach him. At length one named Rilballe 
determined to wound him with a spear and then take the fire from him. He threw 


the spear and woanded him in the neck. This caused a great laughing and shout- 
ing, and nearly all were transformed into different animals. Kondole ran to the 
sea and became a whale, and ever after blew the water out of the wound which he 
received in his neck. Kuratje and Kamnari became small fish. The latter was 
dressed in a good kangaroo skin, and the former only a mat made of seaweed, 
which is the reason, they say, that the kamnari contains a great deal of oil under 
the skin, while the kuratje is dry and without fat. Others became opossums, and 
went up trees. The young men who were ornamented with tufts of feathers be- 
came cockatoos, the tuft of feathers being the crest. Rilballe took Kondole's fire 
and placed it in the grass-tree, where it still remains, and can be brought out by 

'*They tell a number of other stories concerning the origin of the sea, heat, 
Ac, &C., but it will suffice to mention the cause of the rain and the origin of lan- 

"Near the Goolwa lived an old man named Kortuwe with his two friends, Mun- 
kari and Waingilbe. The latter, who were considerably younger than Kortuwe, 
went out fishing, and as they caught kuratje and kamnari they put the kuratje, 
which are not so good as the kanmari, aside for Kortuwe. The old man, perceiv- 
ing this, commenced a song, Anna'Ujeranangh rotjer tampatjeranangk (in the En- 
counter Bay dialect it would be Ngannang kurcUjee tampin — *for me they put 
aside the kuratje'), upon which rain began to faU. Kortuwe then went into his 
hut, and closed it with bushes, and Munkari and Waingilbe were obliged to re- 
main outside and got wet as a punishment. The three were transformed into birds, 
and as often as Kortuwe makes a noise it is a sign that xain will soon follow. 

"Languages originated from an ill-tempered old woman. In remote time an old 
woman named Wurruri lived towards the east, and generally walked with a large 
stick in her hand to scatter the fires round which others were sleeping. Wurruri 
at length died. Greatly delighted at this circumstance, they sent messengers in 
all directions to give notice of her death. Men, women, and children came, not 
to lament, but to show their joy. The Raminjerar were the first, who fell upon 
the corpse and began eating the flesh, and immediately began to speak intelligibly. 
The other tribes to the eastward, arriving later, ate the contents of the intestines, 
which caused them to speak a language slightly different. The northern tribes 
came last, and devoured the intestines and all that remained, and immediately 
spoke a language differing still more from that of the Raminjerar. 

"All this happened before the time of Nurunduri, with whose departure from 
the earth the power of transforming themselves, and making rivers, hills, Ac., 
ceased. As with Nurunduri a new epoch commenced, as much of his history as 
can be told with decency here follows : — He was a tall and powerful man, and 
lived in the east with two wives, and had several children. Upon one occasion 
his two wives ran away from him, and he weut in search of them. Wherever he 
arrived he spread terror amongst the people, who were dwarfs compared with 
him. Continuing his pursuit, he arrived at Freeman's Nob. Disappointed at not 
finding his wives, he threw two small nets, called witti, into' the sea, and 
immediately two small rocky islands arose, which ever since have been 
called Wittungenggul. He went on to Ramong, where, by stamping with his 

* The operation for obtaining fire is as follows : — A split piece of the flower- 
stem is placed upon the ground, the flat side uppermost, and the lower end of a 
thinner piece pressed upon it, while the upper part is held between the palms of 
the hands, and an alternate revolving motion given to it by rubbing the hands 
backwards and forwards till it ignites. 


feet, he created Kungkengguwar (Bosetta Head). From hence he threw spean 
in different directions, and wherever they fell imall rocky islands arose. At 
length he found his two wives at Toppong. After beating them they again 
endeavoured to escape. Now tired of pursuing them, he ordered the sea to 
flow and drown them. They were transformed into rock, and are still to be 
seen at low water. Discontented and unhappy, he removed with his children 
to a great distance towards the West, where he still lives, a very old man, 
scarcely able to move. When he went away, one of his children was asleep, 
and, in consequence, left behind. Nurunduri, when he arrived at the place where 
he intended to remain, missed him, and making fast one end of a string to 
his maralengk, he threw the other end towards where he supposed his son to be, 
who, catching hold of it, helped himself along to his father. This line is still the 
guide by which the dead find their way to NurundurL When a man dies, 
Nnmnduri*s son, who first found the way to his father by means of the line, 
throws it to the dead man, who catching hold of it, is conducted in like manner. 
When he comes near, the old man, feeling the motion of the line, asks his son 
who is coming. If it is a man, the son calls all the men together, who by a great 
shouting, arouse the half stupefied man. When come to himself, he silently and 
sadly approaches Nurunduri, who points out to him where he is to reside. If he 
belongs to the Encounter Bay, or one of the Goolwa tribes, he is allowed to live 
in Numnduri's hut; but if of one of the more distant tribes, at a distance off. 
Before he goes away to the place pointed out to him Nurunduri carefully 
obeerves his eyes. If tears are flowing from one eye only, it is a sign that he 
has left only one wife; if from both, two; if they cease to flow from one eye 
while they continue to flow from the other, he has left three wives; and 
aooording to the number he has left, Nurunduri provides him with others* 
Old people become young, and the infirm sound in the company of NurundurL 
This is what the poor uninstructed people believe; therefore no fears about 
the future, or concerning punishments and rewards, are entertained by them. 

Thus far Meyer's account of the legends which he found amongst 
the natives. I have omitted one or two which were too indecent 
for general readers. 

It is now the opinion of intelligent natives with whom I have 
conversed, that Nurunduri was the great chief who led the 
Narrinyeri down the Darling to the countiy which they now 
inhabit. They say that there is a tradition that two young men 
returned back on the track of the tribe, and were never more 
heard of Nurunduri is represented as having led his sons, i.e., 
his tribe, do\i^ the southern shore of the Lakes, and then turned 
up the Coorong. There he appears to have met another tribe, 
coming from the south-east. A battle was fought, and, of 
course, the Narrinyeri say that they were conquerors. But yet^ 
afterwards, Nurunduri led his people towards Encounter Bay, 


and there appears to have resided until his death. There is also 
a tradition that two warriors afterwards led a party up the 
Coorong, and established themselves near Mount Gambier. 

In addition to the legends before related, the Narrinyeri 
tell some curious but absurd stories about the animals. For 
instance, they say that originally the turtle possessed venomous 
fangs, and the snake had none; so the latter begged the former 
to make an exchange, offering to barter his own head for 
the turtle's fangs, alleging, as a reason, that he lived on the 
shore exposed to the attacks of the black fellows, while the 
turtle occupied a secure position in the Lake. So the turtle 
consented to the bargain, and ever since then the snake has had 
venomous fangs, and the turtle a snake-like head and neck. 

It is also said that once the pelicans were fishing in the Lake, 
and caught a great quantity of tukkeri. They carried them to 
Tipping, and there the magpies (muldurar) said they would 
find fire and cook the tukkeri for a share of them. The 
pelicans consented, but soon found that the magpies were 
taking advantage of their culinary operations to steal the fish. 
This led to a struggle, and a fight over the dinner, in which the 
magpies got rolled in the ashes, which gave them their black 
coats, and the pelicans got besmeared with the silvery scales of 
the tukkeri, which caused them to have white breasts. 

The Narrinyeri are terribly afraid of two wood demons, called 
Melapi and Pepe. They say that the former assumes any shape 
he pleases; sometimes he is like an old man, at other times he 
will take the form of a bird, or a burnt stump, and always for 
the purpose of luring individuals within his reach, so that he may 
destroy them. I have several times heard blacks declare that 
they have seen him. 

The natives also dread a water spirit, called Mulgewanke. 
The booming soimd which is heard frequently in Lake Alex- 
andrina is ascribed to him, and they think it causes rheumatism 
to those who hear it He is represented as a curious being, half 
man, half fish, and instead of hair, a matted crop of reeds. I 


have often wondered myself what the noise is really caused by, 
which they ascribe to Mulgewanke. I have heard it dozens of 
times, and so have many other persons. It resembles the boom 
of a distant cannon, or the explosion of a blast. Sometimes, 
however, it is more like the sound made by the fall of a huge 
body into deep water. It cannot be the peculiar sound made by 
the Murray bittern, as I have often beard that too, and it is not 
at all like the noise in the Lake. At first I ascribed it to people 
blasting wood on the opposite side, but since then I have been 
convinced that this cannot be the case. One peculiarity of the 
sound ascribed to the Mulgewanke is, that although it is some- 
times louder than at others, yet it is never near, always distant. 
I have no doubt but at some time or other the natural cause of 
it will be discovered, but I have never yet heard the phenomenon 

There is another superstition believed in by the Narrinyeri. 
Every tribe has its ngaitye; that is, some animal which they 
regard as a sort of good genius, who takes an interest in their 
welfare — somethiog like the North American Indian totem. 
Some will have a snake, some a wild dog, some a bird, and some 
an insect. No man or woman will kill her ngaitye, except it 
happens to be an animal which is good for food, when they have 
no objection to eating them. Nevertheless, they will be very 
careful to destroy all the remains, lest an enemy might get hold 
of them, and by his sorcery cause the ngaitye to grow in the 
inside of the eater, and cause his death. I know several persons 
whose ngaityar are different kinds of snakes, consequently thej' 
do not like to kill them; but when they meet with them thej' 
catch them, pull out their teeth, or else sew up their mouths, and 
keep them in a basket as pets. Once I knew of a man catching bin 
ngaitye in the person of a large female tiger snake, and, after 
puUiDg out the teeth, he put it in a basket, and hung it up in hLs 
wurley. The next morning they found that she had brought 
forth sixteen yoimg ones. This increase of family was too mudi 
for those blacks to whom she did not stand in the relation of 


ngaitye, so they killed them all; and on cutting the mother open 
afterwards found seven more young snakes inside of her, making 
twenty-three, in all, produced at one litter. 

One day a couple of wild dogs came on a predatory expedition 
into my neighbourhood, so I shot one of them; and immediately 
after was reproached very much for hurting the ngaitye of two or 
three blacks residing here. People are sometimes named from 
their ngaitye; as, for instance, Taowinyeri, the person whose 
ngaitye is Taow, the native name of the guana. 

It appears to me that the ngaitye of the Narrinyeri is the 
same as the aitu of the Samoans, but it is not regarded with so 
much veneration by the former as by the latter. The names are 
evidently derived from the same original, ngaitye being the same 
word as aitu, only with the addition of consonants. 

The following is Dr. G. Turner's accoimt of the Samoan aitu: — 
"These gods were supposed to appear in some visible incarnation, 
and the particular thing in which his god was in the habit of 
appearing was to the Samoan an object of veneration. It was, in 
fact, his idol, and he was careful never to injure it or treat it with 
contempt. One, for instance, saw his god in the eel, another in 
the shark, another in the turtle, another in the dog, another in 
the owl, another in the lizard; and so on throughout all the 
fish of the sea, and birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping 
things. In some of the shellfish, even, gods were supposed to be 
present. A man would eat freely of the incarnation of the god 
of another man, but the incarnation of his own particular god he 
would consider it death to injure or eat. The god was supposed 
to avenge the insult by taking up his abode in that person's 
body, and causing to generate there the very thing which he had 
eaten, until it produced death. These gods they called aitu 
feile, or gods of the house." 

The Narrinyeri believe in the power of the dead to influence 
the elements, of which I once had a proof A short time after 
the execution of the murderers of Mrs. Rainberd, we had a gale 
of wind for several days successively. Upon my remarking upon 


the violence of the weather to some natives, they said it was 
occasioned by the blacks who had been hanged, who had sent 
the wind in revenge to try to injure and annoy the whitefellows. 
"You see/'^they said, "it blows from their country." 

The blacks also have their rainmakers. One old fellow, named 
Pepeom, professed to be able to change the weather by his 
incantations; and I have heard him in summer time lay claim to 
the merit of having caused a welcome shower. 



The History of the Mission to the Aborigines at Point 


In May, 1859, it was resolved by the Aborigines* Friends' Asso- 
ciation of Adelaide to establish an institution for the instruction 
and evangelisation of the Lake Tribes of Aborigines. I had been, 
about a month previously, appointed as their Missionary Agent. 
By direction of the Committee of this Association, I travelled 
over the country inhabited by the people whom we wished to 
benefit, and after some research and inquiry pitched upon Point 
Macleay, on the south side of Lake Alexandrina, as the best spot 
for our purpose. It is situated on a peninsula, formed by the 
lake above mentioned and Lake Albert and the Coorong; conse- 
quently the spot is very much isolated, being separated from the 
settlements by fifteen miles of water. It is a favourite resort of 
the Aborigines, who come there to assemblies of the tribes for 
various purposes. 

I now began to prepare a dwelling for myself and family, and 
in the course of five months got a small house built. While this 
was being erected I camped out among the natives, leaving my 
wife and family at Port Elliot. During this time I was led to 
observe that the Aborigines were composed of a mixture of two 
races, and my researches into their language have since confirmed 
the impression. In one class of natives I observed that both 
males and females were tall and slight, with small features, and 
usually with straight hau*, while the other had broader and 
coarser features, clumsy limbs, and very curly hair. I have since 
seen persons of both become true and earnest Christians; I have, 
however, noticed that when a member of the former class becomes 
a Christian he is a more intelligent believer than one of the latter^ 


and that if he becomes an opponent to religion he is a more art- 
ful and unscrupulous and dangerous enemy than any member of 
the other class. 

During these five months in which the house was being built, 
I occupied myself much in going about with and amongst the 
natives, picking up a knowledge of their customs and language. 
This led me into much intercourse, not only with them, but also 
with the white settlers around the Lakes. I was frequently 
amused by the curious ideas which people had of the best way ^ 
to treat the blacks. I remember one instance which occurred at 
this time. I happened to be detained at a shepherd's hut by a 
contrary gale of wind, which prevented us from pursuing our 
voyage. My host, who was very hospitable, soon discovered that 
I was a missionary. A short time before two natives had been 
arrested for killing one of their tribe. The shepherd strongly ex- 
pressed his opinion that they ought to be hanged. I ventured to 
put forward my doubts about the justice of such an extreme 
punishment, as the crime had been committed in accordance with 
the native custom to avenge the death of a relative. The shep- 
herd's reply has often recurred to my memory. " I dinna think," 
said he, " that we ought to care about their customs at a'; we 
ought to mak' them gie up a' such hathenish practices. Sure, it'n 
our duty to do a' we can to mak' Christians o' them. Hang them, 
by a' means, sir; I say, hang them! Sure, it's our ^xjXy to mak' 
Christians o' them." Happily, there are few who would take this 
method of making Christians. 

On the 4th of October, 1859, I took my family up to Point 
Madeay, and have resided there ever since. The position was 
isolated enough. At that time our nearest neighbour was five 
miles off, our next ten miles beyond that, and our next fifteen 
miles further still. Very often we could not get across the lake 
for a fortnight in stormy weather. We were thus quite thrown 
upon the natives for society. There was myself and wife and 
tliree little children (the eldest six years of age), and a servant- 
girl of sixteen. Several times I have left my wife and family 
while I went away to the other side of the lake and never in^ 

F 2 


single instance did they receive insult or annoyance from the 
numerous blacks who lived upon the place. 

On the first Sunday after my arrival I opened the largest 
room in my house for divine worship, and invited the blacks to 
attend. A good number came and listened with attention while 
I read and prayed and tried to address them in simple language 
from the text, " The Lord is a great God.'* At that time I knew 
very little native; but some of the blacks knew a great deal of 
broken English, and by using then* way of speaking, and coming 
down to their level, I managed to make some of them under- 
stand. When I first spoke to the natives about religion, I found 
that they believed in a god Nurundere, and at first I was in- 
clined to adopt that name in speaking to the blacks for our Eng- 
lish word God; but I soon found that Nurundere was only a 
deified blackfellow ^^^ose attributes were gigantic vices. I 
therefore determined always to use the word Jehovah for our 
God, and thus avoided the confusion which would have resulted 
from using the native name. 

Our Sabbath worship soon became crowded, and I was heard 
with deep interest. I went through the chapters of the "Peep 
of Day" and " Line upon Line," turning them into language in- 
telligible to the blacks, and they came and heard me gladly. 
iVnd now I began to seek to influence the minds of the natives 
in favour of civilisation. The great diflSculty was to fathom the 
depths of their ignorance. We have received so much knowledge 
in early life that we take it as a matter of course that others 
l>ossess the same. The tribe here had not had much intercourse 
with the whites. I remember well the first time some of the 
women heard our clock strike. They listened with astonish- 
ment; then inquired huiriedly in a whisper, "What him say?'* 
and rushed out of the house in terror without waiting for an 

* The natives t()ld me that some twenty years before I came to Point Madeay 
they lirst saw white men on horseback, and thought the horses were their visitors* 
mothers, because they carried them on their backs! I have also heanl that 
another tribe regarded the first pack-bullocks they saw as the whitefcUows* M-ives, 
because they carried the luggage ! 


I remarked that many things that were interesting to us they 
only regarded with stupid wonder. I remember an instance of 
this. I showed some natives one day a picture of the interior of 
a splendid cathedral, but they could not imdei-stand it, and 
evinced no admiration at alL I then showed them another view, 
in the foreground of which was a wheelbarrow. This they recog- 
nised at once, and went into raptures over it — it was such an 
exact likeness of our wheelbarrow. 

But there was not only ignorance to contend with, but super- 
stition^ and very active and antagonistic heathenism. I was very 
soon brought into opposition to the customs of the natives. The 
first time I came into conflict with heathenism wiU afford a good 
illustration of the sort of battle we constantly had to fight. It 
was on this wise. One day four girls of about sixteen years of 
age came and begged me to allow them to sleep in my kitchen, 
because they desired to escape from some relatives who wished to 
give them in marriage to men whom they did not like. As their 
mothers seconded their entreaties I consented to let them do so, 
never thinking any serious harm would come of it. They did 
this for two nights. On the third night we were all just 
thinking of going to bed, when a knock was heard at our front 
door. I went and opened it, and found about a dozen natives, 
armed with spears and kanikis, standing outside. I asked what 
they wanted. One of them, BuUocky House Bob, stepped for- 
ward, and said that they had come for his daughter, who was one 
of the girls in the kitchen, named Pompanyeripuritye. And he 
gave me to imderstand that they meant to have her. I tried to 
persuade her father to leave her, but it was of no use; she had to 
go with them, very imwillingly. Before they left, they said they 
did not like these girls to sleep in the kitchen, as they might eat 
some flour out of a bag from which the narumbar had partaken. 
The narumbar were the youths who were being made young men 
and, according to custom, were forbidden to eat with women lest 
they should grow ugly. I tried to assure them there was no 
danger of this, and they departed. Next morning, just after 
breakfast, a tremendous hubbub arose at the camps on the hilL 


opposite my house. The notion had got abroad that the young 
women had eaten the flour of the narumbar in my kitchen, and 
the desecrated youths and their friends had in revenge fired the 
wurleys and attacked the relatives of the girls, and so a general 
fight began. I ran up, followed by my wife and a friend who 
was staying with me, and found that broken heads were becoming 
rather plentiful. There were about a hundred people earnestly 
endeavouring to knock each other s brains out. Some were 
bleedmg on the ground, and women were waUing over them; 
others were uttering hoarse shouts and yells of defiance as they 
flourished their weapons or brought them into contact with their 
adversaries' heads. Women were dancing about naked, ca8ting 
dust in the air, hurling obscene language at their enemies, and 
encouraging their friends. It was a perfect tempest of rage. I 
felt rather vexed at their foolishness, so I went amongst them 
and shouted that this fighting must cease. As I stood there, 
trying by persuasions and commands to stop the scrimmage, my 
wife saw Dick Baalpulare go deliberately behind a bush at a 
little distance from me and hurl a heavy spear at my head. It 
just missed me, going about an inch from the top of my head. 
I did not see it or know anything about it till afterwards. The 
women standing near my wife begged her to go home, as the 
men were going to kill me. However, after a good lot of trouble, 
I managed to stop the fight and get the natives to go back 
to their camps. But I found that I was blamed by both parties 
as the cause of the quarrel, through letting the girls sleep in 
my kitchen. I gave Dick Baalpulare a good rating afterwards 
for being such a rascal. I had my revenue on him though, 
for a snake bit him one day, and I had the pleasure of curing 

For six months after taking up our abode with the natives my 
principal work was visitation of the camps, as we had very few 
facilities for having a school for the children. My usual custom 
was to go and sit down amongst them and talk about whatever 
came uppermost, and gradually lead their minds to religious 
matters. I found that I thus instructed myself in their language 


and customs, while I taught them many truths and exerted an 
influence against heathenism. 

During this period various circumstances occurred which I 
entered in my journal. Some of them are illustrative of our 
work. I find the following entries, whidi may interest the 
reader: — 

1859. — 9th November. — This morning, Peter, the chief, or 
rupuUe of the tribe, told me that they had caught a white fellow 
in the night stealing fish from his pound. It will be understood 
that the natives make enclosures by driving stakes close together 
into the bottom of the lake, in a circle some twenty or twenty- 
five feet round, and place the Murray cod which they catch 
therein, to preserve them alive until the boats arrive with 
the parties who purchase the fish. To steal fish, then, out of the 
pound, is like stealing cattle out of a yard. When I heard 
Peters story, I got a lot of men together, and put a crew 
on board the whaleboat, in charge of an Englishman temporarily 
employed here; and ofi* we started to catch the thief As soon 
as he saw us he went ofi* in a dingy to a boat which was 
anchored a little way from the shore, no doubt intending 
to escape; but the whaleboat swept round the comer, and he 
had to surrender. The foolish fellow cried and blubbered, and 
confessed to having stolen the fish. I put him into the whale- 
boat, sent him to Goolwa, and gave him in charge to the police. 
(He afterwards got a month s imprisonment with hard labour.) 

While we were thief-taking, that is, I and the Point Malcolm 
tribe, the Mundoo blacks, who were just starting for the lower 
Lake, tried to do another sort of stealing. They found 
Nourailinyeri, a young and very pretty girl, the wife of Henry, 
Captain Jack s brother, sitting on the shore, so they seized her, 
and had started ofi* when her husband and friends happened to 
come back and discovered the abduction. Off they rushed; 
Captain Jack soon caught her, took her away from her captors, 
and led her back to the camp. This the Mundoos resented, spears 
were thrown, and ther^ was a tremendous row. I could not 
help admiring Captain Jack; he kept his temper excellently, 



and said there should be no fighting on this place. He would 
not take a weapon in hand, but went and^broke all the spears 
which he could get hold of. The Point Malcolm blacks showed 
great forbearance, but the Mundoos were very bouncible. One 
Eaingani, all dripping with grease and red ochre, named 
Doughboy, especially distinguished himself. I saw him after 
much vociferous abuse aim and hurl a spear at one of the other 
side, but as he did so his foot slipped, and he only stuck it 
in the mud and broke it to pieces, and everybody laughed. 
After a great scrimmage, in which the old women, as usual, 
bore a distinguished part, the Mundoos went off to their own 

30th. — ^In conversing with the natives to-day I found that 
a word in Meyer's vocabulary bears a very different meaning fix)m 
what he says it does. It is the word mutturi, and its 
compounds. He says it means holy, sacred; whereas I find that 
it means generous, open-handed, having plenty to give away. 
I am mutturi when I have plenty of flour to give away. This is 
rather an important difference, and illustrates how easy it is 
to make mistakes in learning an unwritten language. 

6th December. — Very short of meat, so had to go and hunt for 
some myself Pretty successful. The people on the run here 
positively refuse to sell us any meat, so we are compelled to live 
on fish and game; and, nice as these things are in moderation, 
one only has to get nothing else for three months to be made to 
feel a keen longing for beef and mutton. 

12th. — Every day's experience shows that the natives are 
lamentably deficient in one respect, that is in governing their 
children. The little ones are allowed to do just as they like, 
and are never corrected^ It leads one to see the need of those 
Proverbs of Solomon, which relate to the duty of correcting 
children. These heathen never do it. The men think nothing 
of thrashing their wives, knocking them on the head, and 
inflicting frightful gashes; but they never beat the boys. And 
the sons treat their mothers very badly. Very often mere lads 
will not hesitate to strike and throw stones at them. 


18th December. — ^Visited the camps. It is a curious sight, to 
sit in the wurley and watch the natives eat their food. To-day 
I saw them having a meal. One was making for herself a large 
pot of stirabout. When it was cooked, she took it away behind 
the rest and began eating, taking out great mouthfuls of it with 
a fiat piece of wood, and devouring it so very hot that I wondered 
she did not scald her mouth. All the while the rest were quite 
aware of her doings, and would like a share of the mess; but cus- 
tom and propriety forbid that they should show it. So one hums 
a tune, another chats, and the rest try to look indifferent; but at 
the same time there is a ludicrous expression of interest in their 
faces, and anxiety that the eater should not devour all the stir- 
about. Presently, when the owner of the food had appeased her 
hunger, she divided what was left amongst the others to their 
apparent satisfaction. Then a damper, which had been cooking 
in the fire, was taken out. This was common property. One of 
the elders of the party took it and divided it into equal portions 
with his knife, and pitched the pieces across to those entitled to 
a share. 

It is regarded as very rude amongst natives for two people to 
converse together in whispers or an undertone in the presence of 
other people. What is said must be uttei-ed so that all can hear. 
A tHe-a-tHe is very offensive and bad manners. 

16th. — I have been told several times lately that a man is living 
with the natives on the lower lake who says he has come down 
from heaven. The natives say he was once called Jimmy Myers, 
and was a well-known blackfellow who died at Hindmarsh 
Valley. He represents that he died and went to heaven, but was 
sent back to the earth again. Of course, they regard such a won- 
derful person with great admiration. 

17th. — To-day our boat came from Goolwa, and on board of her 
is tlie very man who claims to have returned from heaven. He is 
a most villainous-looking fellow. He came up to my kitchen 
very boldly. While he stood there with a lot of blacks around 
him, I asked him what country he was a native of He said 
Africa. I inquired what part of Africa. He answered, " I am a 


Creole from the Cape." I took a picture of Cape Town, and 
asked him if that was like the place he came from. He replied 
that it was. All the while the blacks stood round listening and 
drawing their own conclusions. I told him that the boat should 
take him to Milang on Monday. 

19th. — Last night I heard the impostor, whose name is Arm- 
strong, telling some women and children that he was Jemmy- 
Myers, who had come back from the other world. He told them 
a lot of absurd rubbish to make them afraid of him. So we went, 
and before them all charged him with being an impostor. At 
last he confessed that he had allowed the blacks to believe that 
he was Jemmy Myers. I told him that it might be all very well 
as long as he was with the friends of that deceased worthy, but 
if he got amongst Myers's enemies he ran great risk of being 
knocked on the head. I expostulated with him on his wicked- 
ness, and told him that I would do all I could to undeceive the 
natives. Most of them seem convinced now that he is a liar. 
The women abhor him. They are quite ashamed to speak of his 
abominable doings. This miserable wretch has been living on 
the natives for eight months. I took him to Milang in the boat 
to-day, and there got rid of him. 

We tried to promote the temporal well-being of the blacks. 
In order to this we did everything possible to procure profitable 
employment for the able-bodied and industrious. I exerted my- 
self to procure a market for the fish which they caught, and was 
moderately successful. We also gave employment in fencing 
and clearing land to the young men But the old people and 
more barbarous of the natives did not like to see the young men 
at this sort of work. So violent was their opposition at first 
that they came down in numbers from the camp and beat the 
labourers cruelly with their waddies, and forced them to leave 
their work. They hoped thus to drive the young men from 
being so much under my influence. They used to say the young 
fellows would get too much like whitefellows. I have known an 
industrious man who dared not go out of sight of the white man 


wiih whom he laboured lest he should fall into the hands of 
lurking enemies. However, this opposition gradually died away, 
and some of our greatest opponents became as eager to earn 
wages as anybody. But there is a party even now composed of 
men who never work at civilised employments. We also found 
it necessary to relieve the sick and aged and infirm, who suffered 
mudi in those times of scarcity common among a race of 
hunters. For this purpose the Government granted us a supply 
of flour and other stores. 

I found that infanticide was very prevalent, many infants 
being put to death as soon as they were bom. In order to 
prevent this we gave to every mother a ration of flour, tea, and 
sugar imtil her child was twelve months old. This put a stop to 

The first death after our arrival occurred in a few months. It 
was a man in the prime of life, who died of consumption. The 
blacks performed the usual disgusting funereal rites, and set the 
body up in a large native hut with one side open at the top. 
There sat on a stage, tied to posts stuck in the ground, the dis- 
gusting object, filling the air with its dreadful stench, the form 
distended with putrefaction. Around it were wailing women, 
smeared with filth and ashes, and horrible old men, basting it 
with bunches of feathei-s tied to the end of long sticks, until it 
dripped with grease and red ochre. At intervals in the course of 
the day parties of men from a distance would come in sight. As 
soon as they saw the camp, they marched with their speai*s erect 
towards it. As they came near, women rushed towards them, 
and threw themselves on the ground, and cast dust in the air, 
wailing and crjnng out, "Your friend is gone; he will speak to 
you no more," and so on. Then a simultaneous wail would rise 
from the advancing party until they reached the spot and stood 
around the corpse. Many such scenes have I witnessed since. 
On that first occasion, I went to the camp, and, {)ointing to the 
IxKly, I told them that the dead would rise again. They all 
started, and, looking incredulously at me, said, "No!" I then 
took the opportunity of preaching to them the doctrine of the 


resurrection of the dead. My words evidently produced an 

While dead bodies were being thus dried, it was very trying 
to one's stomach to have divine worship on Sabbaths. We had 
to have it in our own house. The little room would be crammed 
with some forty or fifty blacks. They crowded the room as full 
as it would pack, and thronged about the open door and window. 
As they had been living and sleeping in the wurley with a putre- 
fying body, the smell seemed to have been absorbed by their 
skins, and the odour which arose from my congregation was 
excessively unpleasant. But yet their attention and earnestness 
made me feel that I could put up with this in order to teach 
them. They listened with the most intense interest while I told 
them the narratives of Holy Scriptui*e. And after the service 
several would linger behind, and ask questions, and start diffi- 
culties. One day, after service, a man named Billy Waukeri said, 
*'How do we know that this Bible is Jehovah's book? White- 
fellows tell us plenty of lies; how do we know this is not a 
whitefellows' lie?" Here was an opportunity to set before them 
the evidence of the Bible being God's Word, and I was not slow 
to take advantage of it. In all this there was much to encourage 
belief that a divine influence rested upon the preached Word, 
and that in due time fruit would be gathered as the result of 
such a sowing of the holy seed. And so the months passed 
away. Sometimes the tide seemed in our favour, then opposition 
would arise and prevail for a time, but on the whole there was 
steady progress. 

Very small signs of spiritual life cheer the heart of a mission- 
ary to such heathen as these. Circumstances which in civilised 
commimities have no significance are encouraging indications of 
movement amongst a heathen people. Such an event was the 
first time a poor dying woman asked me to read to her out of 
that "very good book" — meaning some translations of Holy 
Scripture into the native language. How gladly I read and 
prayed with her, and encouraged her to look to Jesus! There 
was not much response, it is true; but yet it gave a glimmering 



of hope, and a glimmering is to be hailed joyfully where there 
has been thick darkness. Since that time I have been at all 
sorts of deathbeds — dark and gloomy, fearless and horror- 
stricken, calm and exulting. And I have noticed in some in- 
stances, that natives who could speak good English when in 
health, would entreat that I should read and pray in native when 
they were near death. It was so much less difficult for them to 
apprehend it. And, while I have done so, the talk of the wurley 
would be hushed, and an expression of solemnity manifested in 
every face; and afterwards warm thanks would be given by the 
sick man or woman. We cannot stoop too low to save souls. 
Jesus stooped much lower than we can do to redeem us; and 
shall we not emulate His example, and try to seek and to save 
that which was lost? Efforts to make known the gospel do 
not always show their effects at once; but I have known 
many instances of people who seemed stolid ' and hardened at 
the time that they heard the Word, yet when sickness came 
upon them and death drew near they called upon the name of 
the Lord. 

But there have been darkly contrasted deathbeds to such as- 
those I have been speaking of; where the dying person has been 
so imbruted that there was no fear of death. The wants of the 
flesh have absorbed all attention to the last. On one occasion I 
was trying to get a woman, whose case, as far as the body was 
concerned, was hopeless, to think of her soul; but every attempt 
seemed useless. At last I spoke of the certainty of her death. 
I said, "We shall die, and so will you." Another old woman 
who sat near hearing this said, "Ngum pomani? wunyam el 
takkani ngruwar nunnukki'* ("We shall all die? then let us eat 
plenty of flour"). Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die — 
that was the idea, evidently. 

I had not been more than three months preaching the gospel 
to the natives before there appeared a token of God s grace in 
the decision of a voun^ man named Waukeri to become a Chris- 
tian. The decision was clear and unmistakable. It may not 
have been very enlightened, any more than that of many others 


who have made the same resolve, but it was a decision adhered to 
until death. Waukeri had been forcibly seized and compelled to 
go through the disgusting rites of making narumbe. Before this 
he had heard me preach and teach for about three months. So 
he began to refuse to conform to the native customs of the 
narumbar; he would eat with the women, he would not smear 
himself with red ochre and grease, and he would not go about in 
a state of nudity. So one night the old men of the tribe solemnly 
threatened to kill him for his disobedience. He then came away 
to our house and asked for my protection. This conduct led me 
to inquire the reason for his desire to give up native customs, and 
he declared his resolve to be a Christian; his expression was that 
he did not mean to serve the devil any longer, but would serve 
Jehovah. I warned him of the persecution which he might ex- 
pect, then prayed with him, and commended him to the protec- 
tion of Jehovah. Now I never specially noticed this young man 
Waukeri, nor offered him any inducement to take this step. He 
never went back from his decision. His profession of religion had 
many faults and inconsistencies, as might have been expected, 
but still it was maintained amidst difficulties and persecutions 
and discouragements to the last. When he first became a Chris- 
tian he set to work to wash off the grease and red ochre with 
which he was bedaubed from head to foot. He succeeded pretty 
well with his body, but he could not get the mixture out of his 
really fine head of hair; so he came for assistance, and my dear 
wife and her servant-girl set to work and with a tub of hot water 
and soap gave his head a good scrubbing, and got all the red stuff 
out of his curls, and restored them to their original glossy black. 
Waukeri was a really handsome fellow; his face was by no means 
destitute of comeliness, and his form was of perfect symmetry. 
He was of a kindly, affectionate disposition, but yet with a great 
deal of firmness. I heard of several instances in which he showed 
even to ungodly white people that he was not ashamed of his pro- 
fession. He died of pulmonary consumption in November, 18G4, 
as I shall hereinafter relate, and I trust found acceptance with 
Him who will not break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking 


flax. I felt this young man's decision at such an early period of 
my work was the voice of God bidding me go forward. 

A little incident occurred in that first year which will give 
some idea of what missionaries' wives have to do sometimes. One 
week I had been away from the station, and I left my wife and 
children and the servant-girl at home. On Saturday, down came 
the blacks, and asked Mrs. Taplin, "I say, Missis, what we do 
long a Sunday, no have em chapel?" After some talk she told 
them to come down at the usual time, intending to have a sort of 
Sunday school instead of worship. The hour arrived, and to her 
dismay a perfect crowd assembled, old grey-headed warriors and 
young men, women and children; they quite filled the room. 
There was no help for it, Sunday school was out of the question, 
80 my dear partner stood up behind the table and gave out 
a simple h}rmn and pitched the tune. This concluded, she read 
the Scriptures and offered prayer, then gave out another hymn. 
Now came the crisis; what was to be done? It was soon 
decided; she took a volume of "Line upon Line," selected a chap- 
ter, and made it the foundation of an address upon the subject 
contained therein, and kept their attention the usual time; then 
again sang a hymn and offered prayer, and dismissed the people. 
The natives said afterwards, "My word, Missis, you very good 
minister." I don't suppose my wife seriously infringed any law 
of the New Testament by acting thus in such very exceptional 

Our congregations at first were often strangely dressed. Some 
would be enveloped in the original oppossum-skin rug. Some 
of the men would wear nothing but a double-blanket gathered 
on a stout string and hung round the neck cloakwise, others with 
nothing but a blue shirt on, others again with a woman's skirt 
or petticoat, the waist fastened round their necks and one arm 
out of a hole at the side ; as to trousers, they were a luxury not 
often met with. To our horror and dismay one Sunday a tall 
savage stalked in and gravely sat down to worship with only a 
waistcoat and a high-crowned hat as his entire costume. Of 
course I sent him out quickly. The women came most of them 


wrapped in a blanket, or else perhaps arrayed in a man's long 
greatcoat. But yet there was always devout and solemn atten- 
tion — ^no levity or want of reverence. I had some trouble to 
cure them of want of punctuality. I found that they got later 
and later in their attendance. The bell rang (a hand bell), and 
the gossip of the wurley or some other thing would delay them; 
and it got worse and worae. So one morning I had the bell 
rung, and no one came. I waited ten minutes, ajid then locked 
the door, and resolved that if my congregation would not come 
in time they should stay outside. I then proceeded to hold wor- 
ship for my own family. Very soon there came a knocking at 
the door and a muttering outside. I took no notice, but went on 
with the engagement until the conclusion of our devotions. Then 
I went and opened the door, and sure enough there was the con- 
gregation outside, all standing with rueful faces. I gave them a 
scolding, and told them that Sabbath time was too precious to be 
wasted in waiting for them. They begged me to have service 
over again, but I could not, as it was dinner time, so I advised 
them all to be present in the afternoon, and I had then a crowded 

Various occurrences took place during 1860, some of which I 
find recorded in my journal. I will again make a few extracts. 

13th January. — I went with the whaleboat and crew to get 
salt at the lagoon, twelve miles up the lake. The wind blew ua 
there fast enough, as it became quite stormy after we started. 
This salt lagoon must cover about forty acres, and is situated in 
a gully surrounded by low hills covered with dark trees. It 
looks like a sheet of snow in the bottom of the valley. The salt 
is about nine inches thick, and varies in kind and quality. There 
is not only common salt, but sulphate of magnesia in some places, 
and a good deal of alum in a liquid form. We got 5 cwt. of salt. 
I and the blacks had dinner, and then started on our return. 
The wind and sea were against us. After pulling a mile or 
two they got tired of the oars, and preferred to strip and tow 
the boat along the shore in the shallow water. I and Captain 
Jack walked on the land to lighten the load. There are a gieat 


many mounds on the shore, covered with mussel shells. They 
are from ten feet high to four feet. Captain Jack says the blacks 
made them to bury the dead in at a time of great sickness.* 
When we got to Point Malcolm we had a hard job to get across 
the entrance to Lake Albert, as the wind and water were so 
rough. However, we faced it and got home soon after dark. 

16th. — I asked Waukeri to-day if he prayed to God. He 
replied that he.had tried but found that he could not. I advised 
him to go and tell God that he could not pray, and ask Him to 
help him. 

22nd. — A good attendance at worship to-day. I spoke of the 
Bible as the Word of Jehovah. The natives got hold of the 
idea. After the service Captain Jack and a lot more came round 
the Bible and looked at it curiously. They asked me to tell them 
what Jehovah said. I had a long and interesting talk with them. 

26th. — I tried to make a poor old sick woman understand the 
GospeL I fear I did not succeed, although I spoke very simply. 
Her senses seemed to be quite deadened with old age and pain. 
It aflUcts me very much to see the poor old people dying like 
beasts, ignorant, -wretched, and hopeless. 

27th. — Most of the men and boys are off to a great duck hunt. 
They encircle clumps of reeds with their nets, and catch ducks 
by the hundred. The ducks when moulting are unable to fly, 
and take refuge in the reeds. I went with some women in the 
whale-boat to the beds of reeds near Lake Albert passage, and 
got nine bags of moomoorooke (Murray down) to make beds. 
Such expeditions give one a good chance for long talks, and thus 
I am able to gain their attention to instruction. 

29th. — Sabbath. I preached this morning on the moral law, and 
never was heard more attentively by any congregation. There 
were not quite so many as usual at the service on account of the 
duck hunt. 

3()th. — Had some earnest talk with the blacks about my sermon 
yesterday. They evidently understood it. I pressed it upon 

* One of these mounds has since been opened and fonnd to contain a rast 
number of skeletons of men and women, all laid tide by tide. 



them personally. I asked one, •'Wky do you not do as I tell 
you? It is because you do not think that what I sajris lig^ 
and true." "Yes," he said, "I do." "Well, then," I replied, 
"why not do as I say?" "Ah," he answered, "not yet, not yet." 
Just what hundreds of white people say. 

31si — To-day I was struck with something Billy Waukeri .said. 
I had been expostulating with him for persecuting his brother, 
who is inclined to become a Christian. I told him I should 
advise Waukeri to break their bad customs. 

Billy said, "What for- you do that? God told us to do these 

I asked him, "Where in the Bible did God tell you to do them? 
There is only One God, Jehovah, and only one Bible." 

He answered, "How do you know that Bible is Jehovah s book ? 
Did he give it to you? Did he tell you it? Did not whitefellow 
make it?" 

"No," I replied,- "Jehovah gave it to my fathers a long time 

"Well," he said, "and our God told my fathers these customs 
a long time ago, and so we must do them." 

The conversation was continued at some length, and I could 
see that there was more thoughtful opposition to the Divine 
Word than I expected to find. 

17th March. — A great fight at Teringi; several were speared, 
and one man killed outright. This battle was between five tribes. 
It caused us a great deal of trouble. 

22nd April, Sabbath. — Worship as usual. In the evening I 

heard that the hut of a shepherd named T , which is about a 

mile ofi*, had been robbed in the absence of himself and his wife. 
It is supposed that some native is the thief There is a large 
number of blacks encamped here now. 

23rd. — This morning, quite unexpectedly, police-trooper 
Morgan arrived. The shepherd, who was here, immediately 
informed him of the robbery of his hut, so they and I went to the 
cam{)S on the hill to make inquiries. After we had looked in 
several wurleys, a man named Kilkildareetpiri called out very 


saucily and defiantly, " Here ! you come and look in my wurley." 
I advised Morgan to do so. He had not looked far before he 
found the stolen goods. He seized Kilkildareetpiri, but he cried 
out, " I did not steal them ! it was Baalpulare." So the trooper 
seized Baalpulare by the wrist, that he might handcuff him. As 
he did so, I stood a little back from the group, and saw old 
Pelican go up behind Morgan with a net rope in his hands, and 
proceed to throw it over his head, so as to strangle him. I called 
to the trooper, who let go his prisoner and turned upon the 
blacks. At the same instant the shepherd struck up Pelican's 
arms. Both the white men now drew their revolvers, and the 
blacks rushed to their heavy spears, which were stuck aroimd the 
camps. There seemed to be danger of bloodshed. The natives 
brandished their weapons and danced with rage. Teenminne 
screamed out, " Oh, Taplin, do stand away ! you will be speared." 
There was abundance of savage threats and yells. I never saw 
the blacks in such a fury before. The police-trooper took it very 
calmly. He said it would never do to have bloodshed — he could 
not justify himself if it took place. At this instant Pelican ran 
out of the wurley with a gun ; he knelt on one knee and was 
going to present it at the shepherd, when blaekfellow Robert 
sprang at him and knocked it out of his hand. Just at this time 
Captain Jack and his brother and others ran up from another 
camp, and began to wrench the spears from the natives who 
were threatening us. Morgan now thought it wisest to draw 
off, as the blacks were still very fierce. We went down to my 
house and consulted as to what had better be done. It was 
decided to get all the help we could and then try again, so 
the trooper sent for two stock-keepers and three white 
fishermen, who were within a few miles. They arrived in 
the afternoon. Thus reinforced, we went again to the camps, 
but found that Baalpulare had fled. Then Morgan arrested 
Pelican for pointing the gun at them. The natives were 
very much suq^rised at this, and showed great concern, as he is a 
leading man. However, he was marched ofl* in handcutis to my 
house. In the evening his friends brought Baalpulare, and geive 

a 2 


him up in hopes of having Pelican released; but, of course, it 
could not be. Pelican's wife and son wept bitterly, for it turns 
out he has been in prison before for the killing of a former wife. 
Strict guard was kept over the prisoners all night. 

24th. — ^To-day the trooper took his two prisoners in a boat to 
Wellington. (I afterwards interceded with the Government for 
Pelican, and got him released. Baalpulare got twelve months' 
imprisonment with hard labour). 

14th May. — ^To-day the foundation-stone of the schoolhouse 
was laid by my eldest son. 

From this time until October we were busy building the 
schoolhouse. I and the natives burned the lime, raised the stone 
and cut the thatch. A mason and carpenter built the walls and 
did the rest of the work. 

On the 10th of October, 1860, we finished our schoolhouse and 
began to have school for the native children therein. We had at 
intervals taught them before, but now we began a regular school. 
The natives were ready enough to send their hungry and nearly 
naked boys and girls, and a wilder lot of pupils teacher never 
had. They had no notion of cleanliness, were very noisy from 
having always lived in the open air, were ravenous for the first 
few weeks from previous short commons, and were as active 
as monkeys, clambering along rafters, beams, and over walls 
with the utmost agility. At the same time they were good- 
tempered and eager to learn. The first step was to have them 
all well washed with warm soap and water, have their hair cut, 
and put on clean clothes. Their parents were very adverse to the 
hair-cutting process for the bigger boys. It is the custom of the 
natives to let a youth s hair grow from the time he is ten years 
old until he is sixteen or seventeen — that is until he is made 
a young man, or narumbe; the consequence is that their heads 
become a revolting mass of tangled locks and filth. But I 
insisted that my pupils must have their hair cut, and after some 
scolding from their mothers I carried the point. Very soon after 
we began to have school the children voluntarily brought me 


their marbles and playthings on Saturday night to keep for them 
nntil Monday morning, so that they might not be tempted to 
play with them on Sunday. They had heard me explain to them 
the sacredness of the Sabbath. At first, simple easy reading 
books were all that we could use, but the more intelligent soon 
became able to read the Bible. I shall never forget the awe 
which appeared in their faces when they read the Word of Qod 
for the first time. Their reverence for Holy Scripture has con- 
tinued. I found these children very impressible. They received 
the truth with simplicity; but the Lord opened the hearts of 
some more especially to give it admission. Very soon, they, of 
their own accord, adopted the practice of praying for themselves 
in their bedrooms before going to bed. I have seen them under 
powerful emotions while listening to the preaching of the gospel. 
One Sunday evening I was preaching on decision for Qod. In 
the conclusion of my address I said, "I mean to be on the Lord's 
side: now if any one of you means to be a servant of Jehovah, 
let him stand with me." As I spoke, a lad of twelve, about half 
way down the room, taking my words literally, got up and came 
forwards and stood by me. As he did so his sisters and others 
sobbed and covered their faces with their hands. That decision 
was never revoked: that lad is now a sterling Christian man. 
Thus we were led to feel that the Lord worked with us and gave 
His Word success. Our schoolhouse consisted of a schoolroom 
28 feet by 10, two bedrooms the same size, and a kitchen and 
storeroom, each 16 feet by 10. We were afterwards obliged to 
build a larger schoolroom, 28 feet by 32, and make the first into 
two smaller rooms. 

I again make a few extracts from my journals: — 
16th November, 1860. — A lot of Lake Albert natives came 
bringing ten children to put in the school I am sorry that I 
cannot receive them, as the school is full These natives are all 
in bad health. One young man — Eatyirene — was very ill. I 
gave him medicine, and hope, by God's blessing, to do him 


17th. — Katyirene is improving, to the great joy of his relatives, 
who had given him up. I am very thankful for it too. I also 
had a woman brought to me very ill from having eaten some- 
thing poisonous — fungi, I think. To-jiight, Ponge and Big Jerry 
came to me to try to get a girl named Petembitpiri from the 
school, as the latter wanted to swop her away to get another 
wife for himself. I firmly refused to let her go, and, as she was 
locked up, they could not get her. The man, to whom he wishes 
to give her, has already had two wives on trial, and has cast 
them off. 

18th, Sabbath. — Worship in the morning and evening. Good 
attendance in the morning. In the afternoon, a lot of Mundoo 
blacks went and attacked the Lake Albert tribe. The alleged 
cause was some insulting expressions which the latter had been 
heard to utter against the Mundoos. Some of them got some 
ugly knocks on both sides. One came to me afterwards with a 
great gash in his hand. His hand was split by the blow of a 
sharp-edged kanaki. 

23rd. — To-day, I discovered a curious mistake which I have 
fallen into in the native language. I havd several times asked 
if they had any word for sin. They at once said, "yes," 
"yrottulun," As I was told this by different persons, I used the 
word. At the wurley this morning, I was talking to Pelican 
and others about the Judgment, and trying to show that in the 
prospect of God's judgment we needed to be cleansed from sin: 
freed from sin. So Pelican asked me if those who would stand 
at the right hand of the Judge of all the earth would be very fat 
— bailpuli — as they were not yrottulun. At first, I could not 
understand what he meant; but afterwards found out that his 
question arose from my using the word yrottulun. It tm-ns out 
that this word means "thin," not "sin." Blacks libp our "th," 
and say sin for thin. Hence, when I asked for the word for 
"sin," they gave the one for "thin;" and so I was led into repre- 
senting that it was hateful to God for men to be thin: that 
they would be condemned for it. So they came to the conclusion 
that it was pleasing to God for people to be fat. In fact, I had 


been teUing them that all lean people went to hell, and fat people 
to heaven. I find the right word for wrong-doing in a moral 
sense is wirrang warrin. 

Our daily routine was as follows: — At 6 a.m. in summer and 7 
in winter, the bell rang as a signal for every one to get up. 
From that time until 7.30 was occupied in giving out rations to 
the aged, infirm, and sick, and weighing out the school rations 
for the day. At 8.30 I gave the children their breakfast. At 
9.15 we had morning prayer, and after that school until 12. 
Then at 1 p.m. I gave the children their dinner, and at 2 had 
afternoon school until 3.30. Then the children went ofi* to play, 
and I had time to write letters and look after any business re- 
tjuiring attention. This was the time I gave to translations and 
visitations of the camps. At 5.30 in winter and 6.30 in summer 
the children had supper, and immediately after we had evening 
prayer, and then the children went into their bedrooms and were 
locked in. At 9 the lamps were taken away, and every one 
retired for the night. On Saturday nights we gave all the 
children a complete change of clean clothes. On Sundays we 
had worship twice, and Sunday school. My wife was matron of 
the school, and the making and mending of clothes came heavily 
uiK)n her. After some trouble we got the natives to cook the 
provisions for the children, and also to act as servants in the 
Hclioolhousc. But in about two years I felt quite overworked; 
it became necessary that I should have some help, and a young 
man named Alfred )!. Stapley was appointed to a.ssist me, and 
was for several years my zealous and faithful co-worker; but his 
physical strength became unequal to the work, and he had to 
seek other employment. 

In 18G1 there was u lad of about thirteen years of age in the 
school n;imed Mokooni; he was of a nice disposition and very 
intelligent. One day he was taken ill through eating green she- 
oak apples; and his parents, with my consent, took him to their 
own wurley to nurse him. I gave him some simple medicine, not 
anticipating any danger. As the night drew on the lad became 


worse; violent inflammation of the stomach set in. His relatives, 
in great anxiety, did all they could to relieve his suflerings; but 
the terrible disease increased. There was the wild wurley on the 
hiU side lighted by the flickering camp fire; at the foot of the 
hill there stretched away for many a mile the calm waters of the 
lake, reflecting the stars of heaven in all their glory. There sat 
the mourning father of the lad, holding him tenderly in his arms, 
and his mother and aunts sat around ready with any little act of 
kindness which love might suggest. The fitful light showed how 
sorrowful and anxious were their faces. The poor boy tossed in 
his restless agony, and begged that I might be sent for; but his 
friends did not like to disturb me at midnight. How I wished 
afterwards that they had fetched me. Suddenly the sick boy 
began uttering broken, sobbing entreaties, and his aunt Teen- 
minne — whose first serious impressions were gained at that 
death-bed, and who became a steady and devout Christian woman 
until she entered God's rest — said to her mother, "liisten! he i^ 
not like the Narrinyeri; he prays to Jehovah." Yes, he prayed 
to Jehovah; and Teenminne told me afterwards that his prayer 
was like this: — "0 Jehovah, you forgive me my sins; me been 
big one wicked. O Jehovah, forgive me. Jesus been die for me. 
You been say, when we got big one trouble we must come to 
you. Me got big one trouble now. Me soon die; very soon die 
now. O Jehovah, take me to live long a you. No blackfellow 
can help me now. My father, my mother, no more help me. O 
Jehovah, take care of me. Me want to live long a you. You 
take me now." There were a few more sobbing words, and then 
the poor fellow sank into insensibility, from which he never 
rallied, and by noon next day he was dead. Surely such a sup- 
pliant was heard by the Father of mercies. 

The effects of teaching and preaching the gospel became more 
and more apparent, especially in the young people; insomuch 
that the old men began to grumble at me because the youthful 
members of the tribes would not conform to their customs. It is 
p not always that these customs are cast off from a sense of reli- 
gious duty. Sometimes a young fellow, hearing that they are 


useless and omission of them harmless, breaks through and sets 
all at nought. Such men though are generally not good ohaiac- 
ters. There was one named Tungeriol; he had been made 
narumbe, but had not been sufficiently initiated to be allowed to 
marry. Nevertheless he eloped with a girl named Tyearabbe, 
and lived with her as his wife at a cattle station near. One 
night, some months after, the old men decoyed him down to 
a camp away from the protection of the whites, pretending that 
his crime was forgotten. All on a sudden five of them seized 
him and smothered him. We could never discover his murderers, 
although we used every efibrt to do so. The elders of the tribe 
began to resort to secret assassination to uphold their power. 
This they called neilyerL Only a short time ago, upon examin- 
ing an unburied skeleton from which the sand had blown away, 
there was found, stuck fast between the ribs, the bone dagger 
with which the victim had been killed. 

A few more illustrations of our difficulties and struggles from 
my daily record of the Mission may not be inappropriate. 

30th July, 1861. — Had a long conversation with Teenminne 
and others about the death of Jesus. One of them has been 
much impressed by a dream. They place great reliance on 
dreams. To-day three of the older boys, Tippoo, Weellee, and 
Turtle, left the school because, they said, one of the older girls 
was unfit to be there, and they would not eat out of the same 
Hour. This is a pity; they will lose all the good they have got. 
I spoke to them very faithfully and kindly before they went, but 
it was of no use. One of their mothers who stood by said, "What 
for you try to frighten them?" 

9th August. — To-day the two girls, on account of whom the 
three boys left me, went off to the camps and left their clothes. 
It seems that it is of no use to stand up for the females, they are 
sure to give way at last. If I had never taken these girls, I 
should have kept my three boys. 

17th August. — Liarge numbers of natives arrived from the 
Murray. I hear that a fight is to come off. 


18th, Sabbath. — ^A good attendance at Divine service in the 
morning. I had begun service in the evening when a violent 
quarrel and fight arose at some camps about 200 yards away, and 
there was so much noise that we were obliged to leave off. They 
kept up the disturbance until after ten o'clock, when we tried to 
get some rest notwithstanding the noise and fighting of these 
foolish quarrelsome people. 

19th.— At daylight this morning the sound of quarrelling and 
fighting was the first thing we heard. I felt disheartened. After 
breakfast I found out the cause of quarrel. Minora heard the 
people in Captain Jack's camp say something he did not like, so 
he went and threw a spear right into the wurley amongst the 
men, women, and children. It stuck through a man's hand who 
was cutting tobacco. This was about as bad as firiog a gun 
in at the window of a house. Captain Jack jumped up, rushed 
out, and threw a spear at the other wurley. It struck nobody, 
but a fierce quarrel ensued. At last, Teenminne said it was 
wicked to fight on Simday; and after a while they quieted down. 
First thiog this morning, when Teenminne and Pelican got up, 
they saw a spear with the point towards them stuck in the 
ground opposite their sleeping place, as if someone had thrown it 
at them in their sleep. Pelican in his rage seized a heavy spear, 
rushed at Captain Jack, and threw it at him, transfixing his leg. 
Then Captain Jack returned the compliment, and speared Peli- 
can's leg. This ended the row. 

21st. — The blacks have been fighting ever since Sunday night 
until noon to-day. They then decamped, one party going in one 
direction and the other in the opposite. I am very thankful at 
this, for the whole afiair has worried me incessantly. 

loth October. — I have heard that some of the young men at 
the wurleys have begun to pray regularly, although they are 
laughed at by their fellows. One of them said he believed that 
what I preached was true. They get a good deal of ridicule. 
Maggie Naraminyeri told me that she prays, and that she believes 
that Jesus has forgiven her. Praise the Lord for all this, to Him 
be the glory. 


23rd November. — ^To-day Henry, the brother of Captain Jack, 
became ill. His two sisters also are ill. A sick family. 

24tL — Henrj' is raving this morning. He was bitten by a 
small' snake on Friday evening, but took little notice of it. He 
is now in dreadful agonies. Lockjaw has set in, and he is 
convulsed all over. I fear there is no hope for him. His friends 
have given him up. 

25th. — Poor Henry died this morning. He leaves a widow 
and child. I am very sorry. He was a fine, intelligent young 
fellow. I had gi*eat hopes of him, as he was of such an in- 
quiring disposition with respect to religion. I have had some 
very interesting conversations with him, which he himself 

28th. — This morning Louisa Tuparinyeri, Henry's sister, died. 
Her death was, perhaps, hastened by the shock of his sudden 
end. She was a great favourite, and one of whom I cherished 
hopes of salvation. 

29th. — They are drying the bodies of Henry and Louisa. It is 
such a horrible violation of the sanctity of death. Captain Jack 
and his relations were crying ahnost all last night from sorrow at 
their loss. Poor Louisa! how many times has she sat and listened 
to the teaching from my lips, and from those of my wife. She 
drank in instruction eagerly, and, I trust, savingly. 

From the commencement of the Mission I was brought into 
intimate acquaintance with a very notorious blackfellow named 
Captain Jack. He was a great warrior and sorcerer in his tribe, 
and a man with much natural ability. If he had lived in a 
civilised community, and had been educated, I have no doubt 
he would have distinguished himself He had gained some 
celebrity among the Narrinyeri from the belief that he Iiad once 
seen and had intercourse with Brupi — that is, the devil. This 
g2ive him great intiuence. He was a man of undoubted courage 
and acuteness. He had suffered severely in the battles which he 
had fought; his head, anus, and legs bore the scars of many 
wounds. He greatly enjoyed telling of the various fights in 


which he got them. He would narrate these combats with ani- 
mation and graphic power. On one occasion his tribe was 
pressed by an enemy of superior numbers. Captain Jack tried 
to rally his flying comrades, and at last was left almost alone, 
the mark for a hundred spears. He described with great force 
how the shower of spears descended on his single shield. How- 
ever, he got off with very few hurts from this desperate skirmish. 
This man possessed all the virtues and vices of a savage. He 
had great physical courage and intrepidity. I never saw him 
afraid. He was endowed with much power of endurance. He 
was attached to his friends and country, and very fond of his 
children. But on the other hand he was greedy, and, like every 
true savage, dearly liked to take what he wanted from any one 
weaker than himself without asking leave. He was intensely 
superstitious, very revengeful, a dreaded sorcerer, and lassy and 
gluttonous when it was convenient. He attached himself to me, 
and we became great friends. He could clearly see that much 
temporal good was to be gained by the natives from our Station, 
so he desired that his children might be kept at school He often 
exerted his influence in a very useful manner. He knew that I 
objected to their fights, and especially on the Station, so I have 
seen him rush among the combatants and smash spears right and 
left to prevent them from being used by their owners. He had 
no objection to a battle at a distance from the location. Very 
frequently have I sat in his wurley and tried to enlighten his 
dark mind with the truths of God's Word; but it was all in 
vain; he never became a Christian. One week he never came to 
our Sabbath worship, and so afterwards I inquired the reason. 
He replied that it was useless for him to come, as he found that 
he could not do what Jesus wanted him to do. I asked what 
that was. He said, " You tell me I must only have one wife if I 
serve Jesus. Now my oldest wife, Kitty, is lame, and has only 
one leg, and my youngest wife, Polongane, is the mother of my 
children. Which, then, can I give up?" I admitted that there 
was a difficulty, but persuaded him not to let that stand in the 
way of seeking religious instruction. Captain Jack had a sister 


named Tuparinyeri. One Sunday morning tli3 lad who rang the 
handbell for service, after ringing a short, time, ran down to 
the house and hid himself behind the door. Directly after 
Tuparinyeri came rushing in with her head and face streaming 
with blood from some gashes on her head. I inquired what 
was the matter, and found that the boy in ringing the bell had 
unintentionally struck it against the forehead of Captain Jaek'a 
baby boy, inflicting a slight cut. The father coming up at 
the moment and seeing the blood flew into a rage. The bell- 
ringer fled, and so Captain Jack rushed into the wurley to take 
vengeance on his wife for not taking care of the child, and not 
finding her, he seized a kanake, and battered his sister about the 
head in his wild fury until it streamed with blood. I dressed the 
wounds, and began worship in a rather disturbed state of mind. 
Next day. Captain Jack came down to try to make it up. I told 
him I would have nothing to do with him; he might go. He 
begged me not to be angry. I replied that I would have 
nothing to say with him imless he asked his sister's foi^ve- 
ness. This was contrary to all native ideas ! he was very un- 
willing to do so. He proposed that she should stick a spear 
into his arm, so that his blood might atone for hers; but to 
ask forgiveness of a woman was too humiliating. However, I 
insisted upon that and nothing else, and at last he yielded and 
did as I wished. 

Poor Tuparinyeri was afterwards given away through the 
influence of another brother to an old man who already had two 
wives, and forced to go with him. She took it to heart and 
pined away in the misciable life which she led. A young wife 
in such a case becomes the slave of the older wives. Some time 
after, she returned to mc wasted and ill from bad treatment. 
We took her into the house and nursed her until she was well. 
We also instructed her in the truths of the gospel, and she 
received them with great eagerness. Truly they are the comfort 
and hope of the wretched in all countries. As soon as ever 
Tuparinyeri s health returned she was compelled to go again 
with the barbarous people to whom she had been given. Very 


soon she came back worse than ever. And then she died. I 
will extract the particulars of her death from my diary: — 

16th December, 1861. — ^To-day I learned the particulars of 
Louisa's death. One can get very little about the circumstances 
of a death amongst the natives until the shock of it has passed 
off. It appears that Louisa died from the effects of uterine 
hemorrhage. Directly this began she had a presentiment that 
she should not recover. She very much wished to be buried, 
instead of being dried native-fashion, but this wish was not com- 
plied with. The day before she died she had a long talk with 
Teenminne, her sister (Maranowe), who then went about her 
usual pursuits, and Louisa slept, appearing no worse than usual. 
In the evening Teenminne went again to see her. She had not 
long been awake. Looking at her sister, she asked, "What will 
you do, Maranowe, when I leave you? who will walk about with 
you ?" Teenminne replied, " I must walk about by myself; but 
why do you speak like this ? You will not die yet — you will 
live." " No," she said, " I shall not, Maranowe; I shall leave you. 
I am going to such a beautiful place. I have been sleeping. I 
thought there was a gi'eat wind, and the angels came in the wind 
to fetch me away. Oh, they were such beautiful ones, and I 
wanted to go to the beautiful place, all the same as they are. 
They told me I was to come with them, so I got up. I thought 
to go, but I awoke and found I was dreaming. Yes, I am soon 
^oing away to that beautiful country, Maranowe." Teenminne 
still tried to persuade her that she had much longer to live, and 
then left her. Very early next morning she heard them crying 
at the wurley where Louisa was, and ran over. She was just 
departing. She knew her dear sister and fixed her eyes upon her 
in recognition, and then she died. I trust she has reached the 
beautiful country. My hope for her prevails over my doubts. 
She was an amiable woman. I trust she hoped in Christ. We 
have here quite another event than the dark death of the savage, 
from which he shrinks in speechless horror. Louisa Tuparinyeri 
<iied with a Christian's hope, built, I believe, on the true founda- 
tion. I long to sec more living Cliristian natives. I have great 


hope of Teenminne, and all the more as her conduct is so un- 

Captain Jack was sorry for his sister, as he was reaUy much 
attached to her in his barbarous way. For years he stayed most 
of his time with me. He was my chief boatman. He would 
steer the boat through the wildest and dai*kest night across the 
wide lake with unflinching courage and skill. At last he was 
taken ill of brain fever, brought on by drinking spirits after re- 
ceiving a dangerous and weakening wound in battle. His head 
had been no doubt much injured by previous blows. In his 
delirium he sat up and looked around with a smile of defiance, 
then started to his feet and called for spear and shield. His little 
son fetched his spear for him, but before he could reach it he sank 
back exhausted. It was the old fighting spirit strong in death. 
As the end rapidly approached, he seemed to recollect some of the 
ideas which he had been taught by us. At last he called to his 
wife, "Bring the nice clothes, bring the very good clothes, for 
they are opening the door of the house;" and then he fell back 
and expired. Towards the latter })art of his life he became more 
opposed to religion than he was when first I knew him. Perhaps 
he was removed lest he should be an antagonist to Christianity 
amongst the natives. 

On the 14th February, 18G1, the Rev. James Reid, of Scot- 
land, arrived, and began to itinerate as a missionary amongst the 
Aborigines. This he continued to do until he took up his abode 
at Wellington, from whence he made trips to various places, 
preaching to natives and white settlers. He was a good but 
eccentric man. Two natives were converted under his ministry — 
Allan Jamblyn, and James Unaipon. The former continued 
faithful unto death;' the latter yet lives a sterling Christian. 
Mr. Reid was unfortunately drowne<l while crossing Lake Alexan- 
<lrina in a small l>oat in a gale of wind on the 24th of July, 18C3. 
His bo<ly was fi)und by the natives, and buried at Wellington. 

My journals for 1862 and 18G3 contain the following entries: — 

23nl Febniary, 1862. — Sabbath. Forty-six natives present 
at worship. There is a much larger number encamped here. 


At nighty about eleven o'clock, some natives on the hill began 
fighting, and kept it up until late; they set the camps on fire so 
as to have light for the battle. The skirmish was between two 
parties, one of which is in favour of accepting a challenge sent 
by the Qoblwa and Port Elliot clans, and the other against 
it. This a&ir cost me an almost sleepless night. 

24th. — ^The wounded came as usual to have their hurts 
dressed this morning. One had a nasty bite. Jeltoarinyeri had 
a horrid gash in his forehead. It seems to have been a scrimmage 
in which everybody fought with everybody else. 

7th March. — This evening we saw a gigantic bush fire 
sweeping down upon the station. It was some miles off, so we 
all turned out and burned a belt round the entire premises. I 
was much pleased at the alacrity with which the natives worked 
for this purpose. It was as disagreeable and awkward a job as 
it usually is, but we put the place in a position of safety; it took 
uB till midnight. 

21st. — Last night I observed something out in the bush. At 
first I took it for a star shining through the trees. I called some 
boys, and asked them what it was; they said "Wild blackfellow." 
I laughed, but as I did so I saw the light move about amongst the 
bushes. I must say I felt queer at the sight. It was evidently 
carried by some one. As I was alone I did not care to go to see 
who it was. Early this morning I heard the crackling of 
burning grass; I ran with some others to the place where 
the smoke arose, and found flames spreading rapidly. It was 
coming right down on us before the wind. We beat the fire out, 
and then discovered in a hollow the embers of a great fire, 
which had been left by somebody who must have camped there. 
No doubt it was the person who carried the firestick last night. 
The blacks say that men of other clans go about in the dark for 
millin. Twice lately, just in the dusk of the evening, have 
our school children been chased, until they were close to the 
school-house, by strange men, probably enemies of their parents. 

26th April. — ^The natives say that if the panpande and palye 
trees are burned, the ponde (Murray cod) will all go away from 


the neighbourhood. I could not help thinking to-day that 
a load of firewood which the boys fetched bore witness that 
superstition was losing its hold upon them. It was composed 
almost entirely of panpande and palye wood. Three years ago 
the boys would not have dared to bum such wood, as the 
old men would have been so angry. 

8th June. — This afternoon Boord and Menatowe charged the 
young men who are working with me with adultery, and de- 
manded that they should leave the placa This charge the 
accused strenuously denied, and refused to depart. There was 
a stormy dispute. I believe that the real cause of the dislike of 
these fellows to the young men is that they showed a police 
trooper where some ngadhungi were concealed, and he took them 
away. Hence their threats of vengeance and millin and ngad- 

9th. — To-day Boord and Menatowe and their adherents fell 
upon the workmen and beat them grievously. Four were 
disabled and one nearly killed. It was an atrocious proceeding. 
Boord is a great sorcerer, and hates the young fellows because 
they won't believe in bim. 

10th. — Boord came and tried to quarrel with me and insulted 
me this morning. I ordered him off. 

11th. — Last night I was aroused from sleep by a loud knock- 
ing at my door. On calling out I found it was Boord. He said 
that his brother was ill at the camp. It appeared that they 
were all singing a corrobery when this man was suddenly taken 
ill, and they thought he would die> so they all shrieked and 
cried for fear. He begged me to go and see him. I hastily 
dressed and went with Boord, and found that his brother had a 
slight paralytic seizure. I returned home, sent him some medi- 
cine, and then went to bed again. 

Gth November. — Teenminne arrived to-day. She has been 
brought from the river in a canoe as she is ill. 

7th. — ^Teenminne is very ill, and evidently has been so for 
some time. She is much altered in appearance. I have no doubt 
o( her true piety. She is a lover of prayer. I fear for her. May 



the Lord, if it be His good will, restore her to health. She asked 
to be taken down to the school-house to be nursed, and so I had 
her carried down. 

10th. — To-day we had to take Teenminne back to the camp; 
she felt the air too confined in the house. She speaks highly of 
the kindness of her husband, Pelican. 

11th. — Teenminne decidedly better. 

18th. — Teenminne's sister is hopelessly ill. I was speaking to 
her about it to-day. Teenminne said, " She must pray to Jesus; 
I was very bad, and thought I should die, but I laid hold on Jesus 
(morokkir yan Jesuse), and I recovered." This was faith. Teen- 
minne is very much against gambling. I believe she has got 
them to destroy all the packs of cards in her wurley. 

3rd December. — Teenminne is still here, and will stay for some 
time. I am glad of this, as it enables me to watch over her. I 
am thankful for the work of grace manifested in her. I believe 
that the Lord has given me this soul. It is all His work. She 
said the other day, " I not afraid to die. What is die? I think 
no die, only go to heaven." 

4th December. — The schoolboys are glorying in the fact that 
they have done several things in defiance of native custom, and 
have received no harm. They have eaten wallaby, and yet have 
not turned grey. They have eaten tyere (fish), and liave no sore 
legs. They have cooked ngaikunde (fish) with palye, and yet 
there are plenty more. 

10th. — To-day, a woman named Nangowane was severely 
bitten on the leg by a snake^ which twined round the limb while 
she was getting crayfish in the swamps. I applied the usual 
remedies. I cauterised the wound, and applied oil aud ammonia. 
I gave her large doses of brandy and ammonia. I gave her 
3| oz. of brandy and 120 drops of liquor ammonia fortissimus. 
Her pulse was very low; but it rose as I gave her at intervals of 
fifteen minutes ounce after ounce of the medicine. The first two 
ounces produced no effect The third prevented the sinking. 
The fourth made her almost drunk. I now knew that she was 
safe. I am sure that under ordinary circumstances one ounce of 


brandy would have nearly, if not quite, intoxicated this woman, 
as she is one who never has taken spirits. 

6th May, 1863. — Went with the natives to the Coorong, and 
the Mundoo country. 

8th. — Went to Lake Albert on a similar expedition to the last. 
I was amused at one incident. We camped at night, and the 
natives made a wurley at my head. I slept soundly enough. In 
the night the wind changed, so the natives, fearing it might be 
unpleasant to me, got up and shifted the wurley round without 
waking me; and when I got up in the morning I found that 
.they had turned the house round. 

13th June. — I find that a native named James Jackson has 
begun, and kept up prayer at the wurleys every night before he 
retires to rest. He is a quiet, unassuming, industrious little 
man. He and Teenminne and Waukeri are regarded by all as 
Christians. May the Lord spread the light 

20th July. — Rev. James Reid arrived from Wellington, where 
he is residing. He gave an address to the school in the 

21st. — Mr. Reid left for Mundoo and Goolwa, in his own boat. 
I sent our boat and four men with him, to take care of him. He 
is an unskilful navigator. 

26th. — To-day James Unaipon arrived from Wellington. He 
is in search of Mr. Reid, as they are very anxious, fearing from 
his not having returned home that something has happened to 
him. My boat left his boat just at the entrance of the Finniss, 
on the 21st. 

28th. — Towards evening James Jackson was working by him- 
self at the wheat-paddock fence when he saw Jerry and several 
others creeping about him in the bush. He could see they were 
bent on mischief, millin probably, so he made off home for safety. 
They don't like Jackson because of his religion. 

29th. — To-day a cutter arrived, which had been searching for 
Mr. Reid without success. The weather has been very tempes- 
tuous. I fear he has attempted to ci^dss the lake and is drowned. 
In the evening news came that his mast and sail have been found 

H 2 


on the shore near Paltallock. I went down to Loveday Bay in 
search, but could find nothing. 

31st. — Boat returned from the lower lake. It appears that a 
native met Mr. Reid at Mundoo Channel on Friday last, and got 
him to put him across the channel. This man noticed that the 
boat was very leaky, and expostulated with him about it, saying, 
"Mr. Beid, by-and-bye you will drown." But he would not 
listen. The black then baled the boat out for him. He left him, 
and saw him sail away, and go round Rocky Point. It was very 
tempestuous. A squall of wind with rain came on, and hid him 
from the native's sight. He was seen no more alive. I learn 
that several friends expostulated with Mr. Reid for sailing in 
such weather. 

6th August. — Mr. Reid's boat has been found bottom-upwards 
at Point Malcolm. 

11th. — To-day Putteri found the body of Mr. Reid floating in 
deep water near Point Malcolm. He put it in his canoe, covered 
it with a blanket, and brought it here. I had it decently covered 
and put into our boat, and sent it to Wellington to his friends. 
The natives expressed great sorrow at seeing it, and behaved 
most respectfully. The remains were interred next day in Wel- 
lington cemetery. Poor fellow 1 he was a true and loyal servant 
of Christ, but yet he lost his life through not being sufSciently 
careful of himself. 

The extracts from my journals show that some of the principal 
troubles of the early yeai-s of our Mission were the fights con- 
tinually arising amongst the natives. There were ceremonial 
and fimereal fights, and casual fights, and the whole were a 
thorough nuisance. The routine of our school-house would be 
going on as usual, when all on a sudden there would come the 
tidings of a fight, and off* would go children and servants to the 
field of battle to see how the little afiair came off; or perhaps we 
would be just thinking of going to bed when there would be a 
shout and a yell and a blaze of light, and then we would see a 
;^neral scrimmage going on by firelight. One of the worst 


battles we had lasted at intervals for six days. It arose out of a 
quarrel between a husband and wife. Solomon Baalpulare had a 
young wife, Tungkungutte. After she had lived with him some 
years he brought an older woman home to his wurley as a second 
wife. Now, a wife amongst the heathen Aborigines has no ob- 
jection to her husband taking another spouse, provided she is 
younger than herself; but this woman was Tungkungutte's 
senior, and consequently mistress of the camp. Solomon refused 
to listen to his first wife's remonstrances, so she fled to her tribe 
at Lake Albert. Solomon gathered his tribe and came to Point 
Macleay and met the other tribe. He demanded his wife; her 
friends refused to let her return to him. Then they fought, and 
he nearly killed his wife's brother; indeed, he ultimately died of 
the wound which he received. But it was all of no use — he could 
not get his wife back. They fought day after day, until I was 
sick of the hoarse shouts and yells. At the conclusion Solomon 
offended some of the second and intruding wife's friends, and so 
they turned to and gave him a thrashing. This finished the 
afiair. Very few were killed in these combats, but many re- 
ceived dangerous and disabling wounds. Fighting gradually 
passed away before the influence of Christianity and civilization. 
The old warriors died; a party grew up and became strong which 
was opposed to it, and at last it ceased. 

In September, 18G4, James Unaipon came to reside on this 
station, and has made this his place of regular abode ever since. 
He has maintained his Christian profession in the &ce of 
many difiiculties and persecutions. His coming was most advan- 
tageous for us; it gave me what I had long needed — ^a steady 
Christian adult native, who would always take the side of trutli 
and righteousness. He became also a nucleus around which 
those who were impressed by divine truth could rally. There 
were Christians amongst the blacks, but they were isolated, and 
had no united commimion. 

I felt that the time had come to form a Christian society. 
I b^an with a bible-class, but soon found that something more 
was needed. On the 4ih February, 1865, 1 constitute «^ diaus^^ 


the members of which should be understood to make a pro- 
fession of faith in Jesus^ and to be on trial to see whether they 
would continue steadfast or not. On the 26th of the same 
month I baptised three adult natives — two men and a woman. 
They had for three months made a consistent profession of faith 
in Jesus. One of them had lived as a Christian for above 
a year: his name was James Jackson. He died on the 17th 
of the March after his baptism. I had no doubt of his con- 

Another of those whom I thus baptised was William Eropin- 
yeri When he embraced Christianity he had two wives — one a 
young woman who was a Christian, and another who was a girl 
of foiuteen. I told him he must put away the youngest wife. He 
willingly consented to do so. He was then baptised, and his wife 
with him. After he had put away his yoUngest wife the old blacks 
were very much offended. They began to perceive whereunto 
this thing would grow; so first of aU the father of the girl Tina 
who had been put away beat her and used her cruelly to compel 
her to return to Kropinyeri, but he could not succeed in inducing 
her to do so. Then the heathen natives turned their wrath upon 
the husband who had dai*ed to break their customs. They lay 
in wait for him continually, and thus obliged him to go armed. 
It is a custom of the natives, if they cannot be revenged on an 
enemy,' to take vengeance on his nearest relative; so one day two 
of the heathen blacks found the father of Kropinyeri in a solitary 
place, and beat him almost to death. His son found him and 
brought him in a helpless condition to the station. Eventually 
he recovered; but this led the Christian natives to be very cau- 
tious about exposing themselves, and they always went armed 
and in parties after dark in the evenings. 

Poor Waukeri, whose name has been mentioned in these pages, 
fell a victim to that scourge of the natives, pulmonary consump- 
tion. He died in firm faith in Jesus Christ. 

When the boys who had been in the school grew up to be 
youths of 16 or 17, we found great difficulty in dealing with 
them at the first Their education made them superior to their 


fellows, and their pride knew no bounds. Of all failings this is 
the one into which the blacks fall most readily. This cause of 
trouble gradually ceased after several successive classes of boys 
grew up and finished their school life. It was, however, a cause 
of great annoyance and hindrance at the first. On the one hand 
the old blacks wanted to make the youths go through the dis- 
gusting ceremonies of narumbe, which I felt bound to oppose, 
and on the other, the young fellows were intoxicated with 
vanity, conceit, and self-assertion. Three who gave me much 
annoyance were named Tippoo, Turtle, and Nipper. They were 
all clever lads. I had hoped that Christian influences would lay 
hold upon them, but in this I was disappointed. Some extracts 
from my journal will illustrate some of our trials of patience in 
this direction : — 

11th October, 1804. — To-day, Nipper gave the natives some 
trouble. He came 'to his father s hut, a large native hut built of 
logs and reeds, some fourteen feet in diameter, and demanded 
bread. His mother told him she had none, as the flour was all 
expended. No uncommon thing with them, as they frequently 
consume all the bread, and then take to fish and game. So 
Nipper flew into a rage, and, taking a firestick from the tire, he 
set the whole camp in a blaze. His mother and two infant 
children were within at the time, and had a narrow escape from 
the flames; for a high wind was blowing, and the place ignited 
like tinder. Spears, clothes, blankets, guns, cooking utensils, 
and all the various odds and ends of a native camp were burned. 
Lurundinyeri got severely scorched in trying to save some things. 
Nangowane received a severe wound in the leg. When the 
mischief was done, the fellow who had caused it sneaked off, and 
has not been seen since. The loss in goods to the natives must 
be some t<;n or twelve i>ounds. A serious loss to them. 

14th. — Was much abused to-day by two of the young fellows. 
One of them stood and called me everything he could think of, 
all the time holding a loaded gun in his hand. I made a rush 
at him, seized the gun and fired it off, then took the ramrod «xvl 


broke it. I felt that it would not do to let mere boys act in this 
way without showing that it could not be tolerated. 

19th. — To-day I received a Testament from Tewunungge, the 
aunt of Waukeri. He died at Milang. Before he died he gave it 
into her charge, begging her to bring it to me. This he did out 
of reverence for the Word of God. He was a steady, pious fellow. 
Often he would go away into the bush by himself to read the 
Scriptures. I marked many passages for him, and he said that 
he believed and imderstood them. He was not one to make a 
noise about his religion, but more inclined to retire from observa- 

20th November. — To-day Turtle was very impudent to Mr. 
Stapley. He not only threatened him, but used such violence — 
he is a powerful fellow — ^as to hurt him severely. This arose from 
my assistant telling him to leave the room where the school 
children were having their dinner, and where he was behaving 

I could select other instances of the same kind. The way 
in which this came to an end was mournful and instructive. 
Two of the youths who gave us most trouble went into a rapid 
consumption and died. One died hopelessly impenitent; the 
other professed repentance and faith in Jesus. After their 
decease their brother — the very Nipper who burned the camp — 
became deeply impressed, and decided to become a Christian. 1 
never saw a clearer case of conversion. Naturally he is a 
bad-tempered man, but he has exhibited for years a steady 
Christian life, and is respected by all His infirmity needs 
our forbearance yet, but I believe he has overcome it very much. 
Several youths who gave us trouble have become Christians, and 
are now consistent members of the church. 

Fifty-six adult natives have been baptized up to the date when 
this is written. Of these seven have fallen back from their pro- 
fession of Christianity. 

On the 2nd of January, 1866, we commenced the celebration 
of the Lord's Supper. Seven of us united for the first Comma- 


nion. Since then the Church of Christ at this Mission station 
has increased to fifty-five members. There are at this date 
thirty-nine natives and sixteen whites.* 

But to return to the past. After the formation of the church 
in 18G6, it became very desimble to insist upon marriage being 
solemnised with Christian rites. This was brought about by 
two of the church members being married by the Rev. John 
Gardner, of Adelaide, while on a visit to the station. The writer 
was not at that time empowered to legally perform marriages, as 
his church and congregation consisted of Aboriginal natives. 
Had they consisted of the same number of whites, he would 
have at once received authority. However, this difficulty was 
got over, and the writer afterwards received power to legally 
solemnise matrimony. This was of importance, because native 
marriage was not recognised by law; consequently, if a native 
Christian had his wife forced away from him by the heathen 
blacks, he had no legal redress, because he was not legally 
married. And not only on tliis account was it of importance, bat 
also that a check might be put upon divorce, which is easy and 
common amongst the heathen natives. The introduction of 
Christian marriage gave sanctity to the nuptial tie, and made 
it appear more indissoluble. The old heathen blacks saw this, 
and after the first two marriages they set to work to try if they 
could not undo them. Amongst the Aborigines it has been often 
the case that where a young woman has been given in marriage 
against the wishes of some of her relatives, they have tried to 
take her away from her husband and give her to somebody else. 
Laelinyeri had been legally married to Charlotte by the Rev. J. 
Gardner, as stated above; so a party of the old blacks pretended 
that they were ofiendedj at thb, especially an old savage called 
Fisherman Jack Soon after the marriage, down came the 
Lower Murray tribe to the station and encamped near. With 
their usual deceit they pretended to be quite friendly with the 
newly-married couple, so as to throw them off their guard. 

* Ninety-ieven penons have been in communion with the church since its com- 
mencement— fifty-six natives, forty-one whites. 



When they had accomplished this they suddenly seized Char- 
lotte by force in the absence of her husband, and went off 
rapidly to an island called Towadjeri, on the Lower Lake, about 
ten miles from the station. There they defied her husband to 
get her, and declared he should never have her again, as they 
would give her to another man. Laelinyeri came to me and told 
his stoiy in great grief, as was natural I could see that a crisis 
had arisen, and sought, by the help of God, to be equal to the 
occasion. I got our farm overseer and a friend who was staying 
with him to go with us, and I and Laelinyeri got into the boat, 
and we four sailed off down the Lake to Towadjeri. When we 
got there we anchored, and while we were doing so somebody 
said, " There is Charlotte on the shore, sitting under a bush." I 
saw that the girl, suspecting that I was coming to fetch her, had 
slipped away from her captors, and was waiting for me; so I 
jumped into the dingey (it would only carry two), and bade 
Laelinyeri put me ashore. When I got there I saw all the 
Lower Murray tribe — ^about sixty men — drawn up in rank about 
200 yards off with their fishing spears (ugly three-pronged 
weapons) in their hands, and trying to look as fierce and angry 
as they could; but I believed it was all bounce, and walked 
up the shore, sending Laelinyeri back to the boat for my 
two friends and my gun. Then I went up to Charlotte and 
told her to follow me. This she readily and joyfully did, and I 
led her to where the dingey was again approaching the shore. 
Just then old Fisherman sprang out of the ranks and began 
dancing about and swearing at me in native, and whirling his 
spear round his head, and calling on the other blacks to come 
and take the girl out of my hands; but not a man moved. Up 
came the dingey; my friends jumped ashore, in stepped Char- 
lotte, and her husband took her on board the cutter. I now 
knew she was pretty safe; so we walked up amongst the blacks 
and began to talk in a friendly way to them, not alluding to the 
subject in dispute. One of the fellows pointed to my gun and 
daid, *'What! you going to shoot blackfellow?" I said, "No; 
I only want to shoot ducks." We stayed half an hour, and 

[visit of the rev. G. MEISSEL. 107 

then went off to the cutter and sailed for home. That put an 
end to all attempts to undo legal marriage; it has never been 
attempted since.* 

A short time after, a young man who had never been narumbe^ 
married a young woman in defiance of all native custom. His 
father and mother declared before me that they would kill the 
pair of them; but it all ended in threats, and by-and-bye they 
gladly acquiesced in the marriage. 

During 1865-6, we had many cheering tokens of the power of 
Divine truth. One youth, named David, died, and he evidently 
was a Christian. My poor friend, Teenminne, continued to hold 
her faith and love in the Lord Jesus. I find several entries in 
my journals, showing the growing spirit of devotion and prayer- 
fulness amongst the natives. One young woman, Petembitepiri, 
was overheard in fervent supplication at night in the camp. The 
entry of the circumstance in my diary is interesting, for imme- 
diately afterwards she went to Lake Albert, and we soon heard 
of her death. But while the work of grace was going on we 
did not escape the malice of the enemy. Some of the old natives 
did all they could to annoy the people who made a profession of 
religion. They also kept some children from school, and tried to 
terrify those whom they could not prevent from attending. One 
night a large stone was sent crashing through the window of 
the sleeping-room. Another night, some of the children saw a 
human figure outside their bedroom window; and presently a 
face was put close to the glass. They shrieked with fear, and 
imprudently called out a name, supposing it to be that of the 
intruder; immediately a heavy waddy was dashed against the 
])anes smashing in glass and woodwork. 

In November, 1865, the Rev. O. Meissel, Moravian missionary, 
one of a party consisting of himself, Walder, and Kramer, 
destined to labour as missionaries in the far north, came to reside 
with me until the drought which then prevailed should cease. 
He stayed with us eight months, and was beloved by us alL He 

* December, 1S77.— Up to thia dute there have been thirty-four natiTe Chriituoi 
nuurrUges at Rcidtown. 



made himself very useful; for he was rather an accomplished 
musician. His assistance was valuable, and I wished to retain 
him with me; but the rules of the Moravian church would 
not allow this. 

In the course of our mission to the natives, nothing has im- 
pressed me more than the continual evidence of Divine power. 
We have taught and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ; we 
have tried to persuade men to accept of salvation, and become 
servants of Christ; but, while we have done so, we have always 
felt how utterly inadequate were our words to accomplish what 
we desired. 

We could only attribute any good results to a Divine power 
working with us; overcoming aversion and opposition; changing 
opinions and habits; winning love and devotion to Clirist as Lord. 
Often, the most unlikely persons, those for whom we did not like 
to hope, have been the first to show that they had been con- 
quered by the word of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. 

On 16th November, 1866, Mr. J. A. Ophel became my assistant, 
and has continued his earnest and efficient labours ever since. 

We found it necessary in 1865 to provide employment for 
those natives who were willing to work, so that they might 
remain with us and be instructed. We had employed a few 
before this, but only casually, and to no great extent Our desire 
now was to produce the wheat required for the station by native 
labour. A farm overseer was therefore appointed, and a con- 
siderable breadth of land gradually brought under cultivation 
A flock of sheep was also purchased. Our success will be made 
more apparent by quoting the yearly sales of produce from the 
farm. They were as follows: — 

£ s. 


£ 8. d. 

1866 ... 

... 198 17 


1872 ... 

... 276 13- 10 

1867 ... 

... 73 10 


1873 ... 

... 841 3 1 

1868 ... 

... 98 12 


1874 ... 

... 506 9 9 

1869 ... 

... 314 17 


1875 ... 

... 645 4 5 

1870 ... 

... 501 9 


1876 ... 

... 507 4 7 

1871 ... 

... 332 17 



It is true that the money thus raised was spent upon the na- 
tives; but it is satisfactory to think that the benefit which they 
thus received was derived from their own labour. We have had 
to endure the vicissitudes of the seasons, but have great reason 
to be thankful to our Father in Heaven for prospering the work 
of our hands. 

The Government of South Austitdia, in 1865, gave a lease of 
730 acres of land to the Institution. Upon this tract our farm- 
ing operations have been carried on. 

I will here give a few more extracts from my journals, showing 
the state of the Mission in 18G7: — 

5th June, 1867. — I fear that the number of children amongst 
the natives is decreasing. I account for this state of things by 
supposing that it arises partly from drink and partly from prosti- 
tution. The former leads to the latter. The tidy virtuous 
women, who live in the bush, have as many children as they had 
formerly. The falling-off is on the part of the bad characters^ 
who hang about the townships and public-houses.* 

Gth. — Truly our work is very humbling and dispiriting. There 
is no romance about it; it is downright hard routine and 
drudgery. And yet, if Jesus took upon himself the form of a 
servant, why should we murmur. The waywardness of the 
Christian natives is a constant trial; they want the most unrea- 
sonable things, and are vexed when we must refuse. It is natural 
to man to like work in which he succeeds, and to work all the 
harder under the influence of success, but there is little of that here. 
May God give us help, that we may not be weary in well-doing. 

1st July. — ^A very wet and stormy day. On Saturday night 
Teenminne had a daughter; she is doing very well. When I 
went to see her she was sitting up in the wurley, and the cold 
wind blowing in upon her; all she wanted was half a stick of 
tobacco, which I gave her. Afterwards I took her into the house 
and provided for her. 

* Since ChriBtianity hat become more prevalent, the number of children amoogit 
the Christian natives has steatUly increased. 


8th. — Teenminne has gone to the camps again. She does not 
like the close air of the school-house. 

9th. — This morning, at two a.m., some blacks knocked at the 
door, and begged me to come to Teenminne, for she had burnt 
her foot badly. I got up and went to the camp, and found the 
poor woman in agony. One foot is very much burned, the other 
only slightly. She must have put her foot into the fire in her 
sleep; and the strangest part of the affair was, that it did 
not seem to have awakened her. She appeared to be, they said, 
in a sort of nightmare, instinctively moving her feet from the 
fire, but she did not become conscious till someone shouted 
in her ear. The sole of the left foot is roasted off, and the 
two smallest toes quite consumed. After I had dressed it the 
pain was so great that she fainted. In the forenoon I dressed 
the woimds again. The right foot is a little burned. I suspect 
she had a fit. May the Lord graciously restore our dear friend 
to health. 

25th. — Teenminne's foot is healing slowly. She suffers much 
from unskilful nursing. She is very patient. 

1st September. — Poor Teenminne is very ill. I am at a loss 
what to do for her. I can only recommend her to the healing 
power of the Great Physician. O that Hq would spare her life! it 
seems so precious to her children, and to our little church and 
mission. We all love her. I asked her to-day if she was afraid 
to die. With the calmest and most cheerful expression, she said 
that she was not. She manifests the firmest confidence in 
Jesus as the Saviour who died for her. 

28th. — To-day poor Teenminne managed to get to our house 
on crutches, after an illness of three months. I thank Ood for 
this; may He grant her perfect restoration to health. 

Ist November, 1867. — ^The natives are beginning to arrive, to 
attend the expected torarin in honour of the Duke of Edinburgh. 

7th. — The Goolwa and Murray tribes arrived. There are 
some fine men amongst them; physically, as symmetrical and 
well-grown specimens of humanity as one would wish to see, 
notwithstanding their dark skins. 


9tlL — Blacks continue to pour in. This morning there was a 
quarrel amongst the Port Elliot clan. Then the old enemies, the 
Murray and Mundoo clans, fell out. Black Agnes ran away firom 
her husband, and caused the row. The Mundoo men attacked 
the Piltinyerar (Murrays), and so enraged them that it was all I 
could do to prevent a battle. Old Teelbarry got excited in the 
squabble, and in her rage executed a vehement war dance, 
displajring amazing activity, to the intense amusement of every- 
body. The two clans then sat down and talked over the affair; 
mutual explanatioQs were given and received, and all was settled 
with nothing worse than a bumped head, and a woman's leg cut 
with a boomerang, which of course I doctored. On the whole, 
the natives are peaceable. 

10th. — Sabbath. Present at worship, 110 adults, 40 children. 
The blacks behaved very decorously all day. There was hardly 
any singing or dancing. 

11th. — This morning we served out three days' rations to 400 
adults. There are over 500' blacks of all ages here now. It takes 
all our time to supply their wants. Rations for them have been 
sent here by the Government, as, of course, it is necessary to pro- 
vide food for such a gathering of people drawn away from their 
usual places of abode. The men of the clans practised marching ' 
all the moming. At two p.m. all started for Wommeran, .Love- 
day Bay, five miles from here, where the Duke of Edinburgh is 
to land. The main body went first, I and the children followed. 
\Mien we got to Wommeran I found the main body of the 
natives camped a quarter of a mile back from the Lake in the 
8crub; they said they had been ordered by an officer to stay 
there. Tents for the accommodation of the Duke and suite were 
pitched on the open groimd next to the Lake. A considerable 
number of European settlers were assembled there. The natives 
complained of thirst. It was no easy matter to fetch water such 
a diHtance for above 400 people. So I went and asked the officer 
who appeared to be in charge for leave to let the natives get 
drink. He refused, and I got rather a rough reception firom 
him. We then marched our school children down to the 


lake. They were all decently dressed and carried two flags 
made for the occasion. The steamers containing the Duke and 
suite came in sight. The blacks began to murmur at being 
kept back from the shore. I could see we should have 
trouble if I did not take the matter into my own hands, 
so I ordered the natives to march up. They immediately 
said^ '* Minister is our master, we must do as he tells us;" and 
up they came. With a little help we arranged them on each 
side of the causeway up which the Duke would pass. When 
he landed, they cheered lustily in good English hurrahs; but 
afterwards they broke out into their own peculiar native run- 
ning cheer. The natives had written and signed an address to 
the Prince, but I could see no one to introduce the bearers of it, 
so I sent the yoimg men forward by themselves to present it I 
did not like to go with them lest it might be said that I merely 
got up the address to obtain personal notice for myself. The 
address was received by the Prince very kindly. Pantuni read 
it well. After this there was spear and boomerang throwing and 
native cheering. In the evening I took the school children home 
and many of the young men accompanied us. We got home late, 
as the landing-place is so far from the Mission Station. 

12th. — There was a great corroboree (ringbalin) last night at 
Wommeran in the presence of the Prince and suite. I could not 
be present. 

13th. — I am sorry that the Duke of Edinburgh is not allowed 
to see the Mission Station. However, we must be content. I 
should have liked him to see that we are trying to instruct 
the natives. 

14th. — The natives are beginning to leave. After a good deal 
of trouble the Lower Lake clans got away. I gave to all provisions 
for the journey. 

15th. — The Murray River tribe departed, and so the assembly 
of the tribes to meet the Prince has come to an end; it has given 
us all a fortnight s very hard work. The effect will be good. It 
will enlarge the ideas of the natives, and give them notions of 
rank and honour and dignity, which it was difficult to make them 


understacd before. Poor old chief Peter was so frightened at the 
affair that he ran away across the scrub and hid himself in the 
reeds at Ngoingho. He is very ill with the excitement Some 
foolish people tried to terrify him. 

loth February, 18G8. — ^A horrible event has happened. Old 
Peter has been insane ever since the meeting of the natives in 
November. His friends have been very careless of him. To- 
day, at noon, he seized a tomahawk at the camp, and attacked 
Kitty and chopped her frightfully. He inflicted nine wounds, 
some very dangerous, before he was pulled off. It then took 
six men to hold him. He tried to attack others and injure him- 
self, but was prevented. Kitty's husband brought her here. I 
sent her off at once by boat to the doctor at Milang. I also 
informed the police. 

17th. — The police have apprehended Peter. It is a relief to 
know that he is taken. It is dangerous to be near him. It 
would be terrible to have this poor old mad man roaming about 
the bush. Poor Kitty lies in a dangerous condition. (Peter 
was sent to the Lunatic Asylum, and eventually recovered his 
reason. Kitty recovered from the wounds, but eventually died 
of shock to the system.) 

The Christian natives soon began to find the wurleys very un- 
congenial to the practice of Christianity. There is no privacy, 
no security for property, and every hindrance to piety which 
barbarous heathenism can devise. First of all, James Unaipon 
and John Laelinyeri built a small stone, thatched, cottage with 
their savings. Then an excellent lady in Scotland — Mrs. Smith, 
of Dunesk, a friend of the deceased missionary, the Rev. James 
Reid — feeling interested in the two converts made by his labours, 
sent out £40 to be divided between them. They devoted this 
money to building themselves two stone cottages. Then we 
erected another cottage ourselves. The natives now began to en- 
tertain the idea of building a place of worship. Gradually they 
raised the sum of £30. Mrs. Smith, of Dunesk, having heard of 
our desire to build a place of worship, sent us £50 towards it, and 
£100 for more cottages. We then began to build, and with the 



help of kind friends in Adelaide managed to finish our chapel. 
It cost £148. We then built more houses, and called the village 
which thus arose around us Reid Town, in memory of the mis- 
sionary who lost his life in seeking the welfare of the natives. 
Our great want at the present time is houses for the Christian 
natives. Although we have a native stonemason, the demand for 
houses greatly exceeds the supply. 

Two or three more extracts are all I shall trouble the reader 
with. They relate to the close of the life of one often mentioned 
in these pages. 

11th September, 1869. — Teenminne is very ill. Dysentery has 
set in. I fear she cannot recover. 

18th. — Teenminne has been continually getting worse. Her 
faith continues unwavering. I often talk and pray with her, and 
listen to her expression of firm faith in Jesus. She asks me to 
read to her in the native language, because she feels it fatigue 
her attention less than English. 

19th. — My poor sick friend is gradually sinking. She cannot 

last long. She begs me to have her body buried and not dried. 

. Of course I promised to comply with her wishes. There is no 

fear of death, but no raptures — only a sort of anxious waiting for 

departure, all the while resting on Jesus to bear up against fear. 

21st. — To-day, at three p.m., our dear friend Teenmiane de- 
parted to her everlasting rest. She was a little delirious this 
morning, but that passed ofi*; then deafness came on, and the 
restlessness which precedes dissolution. I prayed with her, but 
she heard very little. Her husband was attentive and kind to 
her. She went off at last quite suddenly. 

Teenminne was my first friend among the natives. She 
was a truly excellent woman — kind-hearted, intelligent, faithful, 
courageous, devout. She was a good loving wife, and a good 
mother. I feel we have lost a dear friend. To die was gain to 
her, but grief to us. She possessed more of what we call charac- 
ter than any woman I ever met amongst the natives. She was 
good-looking for an aborigine, although she had lost an eye in 
her childhood. There was a cheerful merry way with her which 


won everybody, and her downright good sense was ever con- 
spicuous. My wife says she has lost the only woman she could 
ever make an intimate friend of amongst the natives. 

23nL — To-day we buried the remains of Teenminne. All the 
blacks except one or two attended the funeral. It was a solemn 

The church of Christ at Reid Town increases in numbers. We 
have much to encourage us. Those for whom at one time we 
scarcely dared to hope are becoming disciples of Jesus. 

Thus Christianity has been winning its way gradually amongst 
the Narrinyeri, producing the peaceable fruits of righteousness 
and civilisation. Christian life has led to Christian marriage. 
Christian worship, Christian homes, and last, not least, Christian 
burial of the departed. Those who came to us as children have 
grown up to manhood and womanhood and become heads of 
families. Some have passed away to the rest of God who came 
to us painted heathen savages, but were led to sit at the feet of 
Jesus, clothed and in their right mind. Many other deathbed 
scenes could be described where natives died in sure and certain 
hope of a resurrection to everlasting life through Jesus Christ our 

I do not think I could produce a better illustration of the 
power of Christianity than one which occurred some little time 
back. I have several times mentioned the name of Baalpulare 
in the course of this narrative. The people bearing this name 
were a large and influential but extremely superstitious and 
heathen family of the Point Macleay tribe. The youngest of 
four brothers who bore this name we called Baalpulare; the 
next elder was Minora Baalpulare. Now this family was by 
native law ngia-ngiampe* to James Unaipon, conse(|uently they 
were forbidden to have the slightest intercourse with him, or he 
with them. One day James came to me and brought a kalduke 
which he said had been sent to him by Minora Baalpulare upon 
the birth of his child to show that he wished the same custom to 
be kept up between their children. James felt that he could not 

* Soe chapter iv., on the customs of the iLKti^«^ 

I 2 


agree to this, as he was a Christian; but it would have been 
risking a quarrel if he had gone and spoken to Minora about 
it, so he asked me what he had better do. I told him that 
I would cany back the kaJduke and settle the matter. Con- 
sequently I went to Minora and told him that as James 
Unaipon was a Christian, he could not have any more to do with 
such heathen customs; and I gave him back the plume. The 
Baalpulares were veiy much scandalised, and very ill friends with 
James for a long time after this occurred. Baalpulare the 
youngest was a gross and licentious savage, and didt not hesitate 
to show his resentment. Some two years after this both Baal- 
pulare and Minora were brought under deep conviction of sin 
through listening to the preaching of the gospel. In their 
distress they cast aside all thought of native customs and went 
to James Unaipon for counsel and comfort. Baalpulare was 
especially earnest and teachable. He set himself to learn to 
read with the greatest diligence and considerable success. I 
could scarcely believe in the change in these men. They applied 
to be admitted to the Church and baptised. So I put them 
under a specially long course of probation, and they passed 
through it with credit. At last they were baptised and became 
communicants. Here was an instance of the power of Christianity 
to break down native customs; these men cast aside all thoughts 
of ngia-ngiampe, and under pressure of religious concern, sought 
counsel from the very man whom native law forbade them to 
speak to. And up to this time they are the most intimate friends 
of James Unaipon. 

A passage from my journal will supply another contrast. The 
quotation is as follows: — 

" June 30, 1859. — Camped at Point Macleay. A large wurley 
is erected close to our camp; Pelican, Teenminne, and many other 
natives live in it. To-night they had a corrobery — ringbalin, 
they call it. Two of their songs especially attracted my atten- 
tion. One of them, the first, began with a low chant, the words 
being rapidly uttered to a sort of cadence, and frequently re- 
peateA, The women all sat on the ground on one side of the 


fires, several of them beating time with the plongge, or native 
drum, while the men stood on the other side of the fire, beating 
time with the tartengk — ^that is, two waddies or kanakis. The 
scene was indescribably wild. The dark row of seated women, 
with rolling eyes and gleaming teeth, the play of light and 
shadow on the rough logs of the wurley, and the eager swaying 
forms of the men, some of them light and beautifully propor- 
tioned youths, and others stalwart and hairy savagea Then the 
chant roAe higher and higher with beat of tartengk and plongge, 
then sank again to plaintive but rapid minor tones. Then the 
men's hoarse voices broke in, shouting in time to the chant, and 
stamping and beating their brandished weapons in the wildest 
excitement Then the shrillest treble of the women rose above 
the fierce warlike tones, sounding like an imploring supplication 
in reply; then the whole concluded with a loud chant in chorus, 
to the beat of tartengk and drum. The other song was to slower 
time, and the burden of it was, ' Shall I ever see my country 
again,' a native utterance of love of birthplace and home. One of 
the men asked mo if I could write what they sang in a letter." 

And now for the contrast. Great has been the effect produced 
by Christianity upon the natives. I do not mean to say tliat 
Christian Aborigines are faultless — far from it They have their 
inconsistencies, their failings, their falls. As yet religious life is ^ 
a conflict with them, even as it is with us. But there exists 
amongst them much earnestness, and they have become more 
cleanly, more industrious, more moral, through the influence of 
the Qospel. The change is so great that I can scarcely believe 
that they are the same people. 

One Saturday night, a few weeks ago, I went, as I always do, 
to take away the lights at nine o'clock, see the children were 
comfortably in bed, and lock up the schoolroom. It was a soft, 
still night. When I got down there I stood a moment and 
listened to the sounds around me. Nobody knew I was there. 
From the young men's sleeping-room came the sound of voices 
singing devoutly and with feeling Lyte's beautiful hymn — 

"Abide with me, fMt falU the eventide.*' 


From my own dwelling rolled the low tones of the harmonium, 
where my eldest daughter was practising the tunes for the coming 
Sabbath. From beyond, where the chapel lifted its silent form 
amidst the darkness, I could hear the sound of a hymn, sung in 
the native deacon's cottage. There a party of natives had 
gathered for a Saturday evening prayer-meeting. As I stood 
there a gentle rain began to fall, and I could not help thinking 
of — " My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil 
as the dew." Yes, Lord, Thy Word shall be as the rain which 
cometh down from heaven, and watereth the earth, and maketh 
it bring forth and bud. It doth not return unto Thee void, but 
accomplishes that which Thou pleasest, and prospers in the thing 
whereunto Thou hast sent it. And to Thy holy name be all the 
glory for ever and ever. To sum up the results of the Mission 
at this place, I may state that at the time when these words are 
being written there were twelve families living in cottages on the 
place. Christian homes, conducted with more or less comfort and 
decency. And I know that in those homes the voice of family 
devotion is heard morning and evening, led by the head of each 
family. This has come about by Christian influence, not by any 
positive command on my part. On the Lord's Day, instead of a 
wild and oddly-dressed throDg of savages, our chapel presents the 
appearance of a decently-dressed congregation of worshippers. 
And in the little village around us is carried on that conflict 
with sin and Satan which shall eventuate in the complete 
triumph of the Gospel. I should also state that I find that those 
natives who adopt a thoroughly civilised mode of life are the 
healthiest of their tribe. The most unhealthy are those who are 
neither civilised nor savage, but adopt a sort of half-and-half 
life. The writer feels that the results of this Mission abundantly 
prove that the Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto 
^ salvation of communities as well as individuals. Thanks be 
unto God, who always causeth us to triumph in Christ. To Him 
be the glory, and the dominion, and the majesty, and the victory 
for ever and ever. Amen. 



The Primitive Condition of Mankind. 

A GREAT deal of controversy has arisen in scientific circles on the 
subject of the primal state of mankind. One party has main- 
tained that if man were not originally developed from the lowest ^^ 
animals, he must have been created in a state of great barbarism ; 
and others maintain that the first individuals of our race were 
placed after their creation in a state which at once developed 
into civilisation. Now, we have in Australia arrived at the 
knowledge of many facts relative to the Aborigines which bear 
directly on the subject under discussion. Any person who has 
resided long amongst the natives and become well acquainted 
with their habits will have remarked the singular absence of the ^ 
faculty of invention which they manifest. The power of calcula- 
tion they possess in a very small measure, but the power to in- 
vent seems to have died out altogether. An Aboriginal will imitate 
what he sees others do; but it seems impossible for him to origi- 
nate a fresh way of doing anything, or to improve on the method 
which he has been taught. 

Now, some %avans have supposed that human languages were 
developed from the utterances natural to animals. If this were 
true, we might, therefore, expect to find amongst the natives of 
Australia a language very little superior to the cries of the beasts i* 
of the field. But what do we find ? — that they possess a language 
which is remarkable for the complexity of its structure, the num- 
ber of its inflections, and the precision with which it can be used. 
Although the number of words contained in it is comparatively 
small — probably not more than four thousand — ^yet they seem to 
the student to be rather the remnants of a noble language than a 
tongue in process of development We find the dual number 
throughout. We also have six cases in each declension of nouns 




and pronouns, and a double set of personal pronouns for the sake 
of euphony and expression. Verbs are regularly formed from 
roots consisting either of one vowel and two consonants or pf two 
vowels and three consonants. The names of human relationships 
are far more copious than in English. In many respects we have 
niceties of expression which we do not find in our own language; 
for instance,. instead of having only one word for the interroga- 
tive and relative "when," they have two. Now, the Aborigines 
with their present power of invention, if they were only developed 
from a still lower grade of human nature, could never have con- 
structed this language for themselves. They possess the faculty 
of learning other languages readily, but anyone who knows them 
well has found they have really no power to invent language. 
And this points to the conclusion that they never could have 
risen to their present state from a lower grade of savage life, but 
must have descended to their barbarism from a state more nearly 
approaching civilisation; and their language must be the remnant 
of what was then in use amongst them. Its inflections have been 
retained, but its range contracted within the limits of the objects 
of their present sphere of existence. 

The natives possess many customs which are just as manifestly 
remnants of a higher state of social life as their language. Now, 
many of their customs are of a most laborious and burdensome 
chaiticter, involving much suflering, and having many curious 
rites connected with them. But while the natives observe them 
with great exactness and particularity, they can give no account 
of their meaning or origin. Now, it is unreasonable to suppose 
that these customs originated without a cause, that they never 
meant anything. The right conclusion is that they once had 
a meaning and an intelligible purpose; but, like many religious 
ceremonies in our own land, the meaning has died out, and they 
are now observed only from superstitious ceremonialisn. And 
this conclusion carries with it the further inference that the 
native must have descended from a higher state of civilisation, 
when they knew the signification of the customs which they now 
ignorantly observe. 


The natives also possess weapons which they could not have 
invented in their present state. The boomerang and throwing- 
stick for the spear are of this kind. The former even suggested 
a new idea to scientific men when it was first found amongst 
them. Their spinning of excellent waterproof twine and their 
netting also point to a time when they possessed a power of in- 
vention which they have since lost. And it is noteworthy that 
those tribes who, to reach their present seats, must have travelled 
across the country where there was no fish, and consequently no 
need of nets, have no idea of making either twine or nets, and 
cannot learn to do so. These Aborigines are on the shores of the 
Australian Bight, and in some parts of the south-western comer 
of the continent, and probably travelled across the centre fix)m 
Torres Straits to get to the position which they now occupy. 

But there are also considerations relating to the present state 
of these Aborigines which bear even more closely than those 
which have engaged our attention upon the primal state of man. 
The condition of this people furnishes ample grounds for the 
position that man in a state of barbarism, so far from rising 
towards civilisation, inevitably and invariably goes downvrards 
towards extinction. The intelligent amongst the Aborigines 
always say that their traditions speak of a time when they were 
more numerous than they are now, and that their numbers had 
been decreasing long before the white man came into the country. 
It would appear, then, that the first comers possessed so much of 
civilisation as to enable them to increase in numbers, but in 
proportion as they became more numerous they became more 
barbarous, until the point was reached where the race began 
to descend towards its present position. Savage life is fatal to 
the increase of the human family. Man in this condition lives 
under the power of his carnal nature, and Holy Scripture says, 
"If ye live after the flesh ye shall die." Never was there 
a text more strikingly illustrated than this by the condition 
of uncivilised man. From childhood to old age the gratifica- 
tion of appetite and passion is the whole purpose of life to 
the savage. He seeks to extract the utmost sweetness from. 


mere animal pleasures, and consequently his nature becomes 
embruted. And this eager pursuit of sensuality leads to in- 
jurious excess and unhealthy intemperance. The Aboriginal 
eats and drinks with a whole devotion and seriousness which 
shows that every faculty is absorbed in the occupation. The 
passions are never restrained, except in so far as custom pre- 
scribes, and consequently assume an imperious character; the 
man is entirely under their sway, and gratifies them to the 
utmost, although the body should die from the indulgence. And 
under such cii'cumstances the race decreases in numbers; sensu- 
ality leads to infanticide and other atrocities too bad to mention; 
infant life perishes at an enormous percentage of the births which 
take place; diseases of a scrofulous type sweep away thousands 
of victims; and the whole people, unless some external aid comes 
in, is soon exterminated by mere barbarism. And in case of the 
Aborigines of these colonies, this result is accelarated through the 
vices introduced by the white man, and they receive an impulse 
which gives them an additional impetus towards destruction. 
Now it is very evident that if this representation be faithfu], man 
never could originally have been created in a state lower than 
that of these Aborigines, for if he had been, he never, by any 
course of development accordant with the course of his nature, 
could have arisen out of it. The only conclusion at which we 
can fairly arrive is, that man was created with all the powers, 
faculties, and impulses which would lead him to adopt from the 
^ first that state of existence which we call civilisation. 




I DO not intend in this chapter to endeavour to make the reader 
acquainted with native grammar, but merely to speak of those 
points of interest in the languages of the Aborigines which are 
worthy of notice. 

The Narrinyeri have a language, and do not, as an English 
farmer once told me he supposed they did, only make noises, 
like beasts of the field. They have a language, and a highly 
organised one too, possessing inflections which ours does not 

Their nouns and pronouns have three numbers — singular, dual, 
and plural. They not only have the cases which ours have, but 
several others in addition. 

The following is the declension of the noun komi, "a man'*: — 







of a man. 



toa man. 









by aman. 



from a man. 


hcmanyir or homaldt 


with a man. 



two men. 



of two men. 



to two men. 





two men. 



by two men. 



from two men. 



with two men. 









of men. 



to men. 









by men. 



from men. 



with men. 

The following is the declension of the personal pronouns: — 


Nom«, ngape, L 
Ac., ngan, me. 
Caus., nffoUi, by me. 


Nom., nginie^ thon. 

Ac., ngum, thee. 

Voc., ngkUa, Othoo. 

Cans., nginU, by thee. 


Nom., kUye, he, ahe, it. 
Ac, kin, him. 
CauB., kilf by him. 

FiBST Pbbson. 


ngelf we two. 
lam, OB two. 
ngelf by us two. 

Second Pebson. 


ngurl, you two. 

lorn, you two. 

ngurla, O you two. 

ngurl, by yon two. 

Thibd Pebsok. 


kengk, they two. 
kenggun, they two. 
kengk, by them two. 


ngum, we. 
nam, ns. 
ngum, by us. 


ngtm, you. 
wrm, yon. 
nguna, Oyon. 
ngtm, by you. 


kar, they. 
kan, them. 
kar, by them. 

Personal pronouns are also used in an abbreviated form for 
the sake of euphony as affixed to nouns. The following is the 
commonly-used short and euphonised form: — 


Nom., app, L 
Ac., an, me. 

Caus., €iUe, by me. 


Nom., ind, inde, thou. 
Ac, um, thee. 

Voc, inda, O thou. 
Cmub,, inde, by thee. 

F1B8T Pebson. 


angal, we two. 
alam, us two. 
€mgcU, by us two. 

Second Pebson. 


ungul, you two. 

ohm, you two. 

via, O you two. 

ungul, by you two. 


am, we. 
atiam, us. 
am, by us. 


ungunt, you. 
onom, you. 
una, O you. 
ungune, by you. 


Third Pebson. 

singular. dual. plural. 

VoBLfityeaiye, he, she, it. engk, theytwa ar, they. 

Ac, in Uyanian, him, eng^vn, ihey two, an, them. 

Cans., i7, Ue, by him. engk, by them two. or, by them. 

The genitives, datives, and ablatives of pronouns are firamed 
by adding the following words to their respective accusatives: — 

OenitiyeB, autoe OMumrle. 
Datives, angk, ungcU, anyhr. 
Ablatives, anyir. 

The following is the declension of the pronominal adjective 
kinamue, "of him" or "his": — 







of his. 



to his. 








hengguna uumrU, 

theirs (two). 



of theirs. 



to theirs. 







by their. 






of their. 



to their. 






by their (causative). 

The use of this causative form will be seen in the following 
sentence: — 

lAkkir atte ityan wundi ananyiril (I speared him with my spear). 

Here the literal rendering is — Was speared by me, him, spear 
by my. 

The declension of other pronouns will be best illustrated by 
the words "ngangge" (who); "minye" (what). 



The interrogatives "who" and "what" are thus declined: — 

"noangoe" (who). 




to whom. 

tmk CM angkf 

to whom (plural). 


whose, or of whom. 


by whom. 


for whom. 






to what. 


of what. 


by what (how). 


for what (what for). 


what times (how often). 


what sort. 

tninyai, tnunyarai, 

what number. 


what reason, why. 


with what intention. 

The verbs are always formed from roots, which consist invari- 
ably of one or two vowel sounds, and two or three consonantal 
sounds. The tenses are made by participles joined to the roots. 
For example, let us take the word "lakkin" (spearing): — 



to spear or pierce. 






must spear. 



speared a long time ago. 



speared recently. 



will spear. 

Past Participle, 




for the purpose of spearing. 


ought to spear. 


spear not. 

Let us take a ftirther example, and give some sentences in 
which is the word "pettin" (stealing): — 

^^ ^f *^ i4U ! ^* y°" '*^ " <p«"»^->- 
^&X^^ t «« •***'• •* ' ""^ *^ ^ 


N^^A'SSi Yea «e dealing. 
Pet oar ityan. — Steal it. 

I will now give two or three sentences in the language: — 

aip'°o':?Ty3S; I When mut I go to Point Sturt ! 

So I it did. > T ,,;. .„ 
Luk >p .tye eUir. { I «l>d 80. 


li^''^i,''^:Z^'-\ I 'iU go to the Wey. 
I when they me will lift up, then will by me drawing to me all men. 
Ngape ungunuk ar an preppani, wunyel atte yultun anangk ngniwar narrinyeri. 
Le, — I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men onto me. 

The principal characteristics of the language are ellipsis^ and 
the abbreviation of words. A native speaks of going and coming, 
continually, without using those words, but short expressions 
ecjuivalent. Instead of saying, I will go, he says. Up will I — 
Lorn el ap; and instead of Come, Mom or Mare el ap — Down 
will I. A word is often expressed in the language by a single 
letter of it beiug sounded. Hence the word ngum (thee) 
becomes um, and often merely m, as Yare matye mitye? — What 
is thy name? Here the whole word ngumauwe (of thee) is 
expressed by the addition of m to the word atye. Narrinyeri 
can always express themselves in such an elliptical style as to 
puzzle a foreigner, however well he may know their language. 

Proper names of places change their terminations according as 
the going to, coming from, or being at the place is spoken of; 
as Tipald, to Tip; Tip angk, at Tip; Tip amant, fjx)m Tip. 
Tip is the name for Point Sturt. 

The languages of the nations of Australian Aborigines differ 
very much. The language of the Narrinyeri is as different from 
the language spoken by the Adelaide tribe as English is from 
German. The words of the various languages of AustcaI\B» 



which most resemble each other are those for the hand, mouth, 
tongue, and eye: — 



Adelaide... ... ... 

Port Lmooln 

Swan River 

New South Wales, near Sydne; 

Melbourne ••• 


* • 


Echuca .•• ••• ••• 

Murundi, River Murray 

Moreton Bay ...^ 

Wimmera, Victoria 

Blanchewater, South Australia 
Wentworth, Darling 

Kamilaroi, Barwon, Liverpool 
X lains .•• ••• ••• ••• 

Dippil, Queensland, Wide Bay 

Marhra ... 
Mutturra ... 
Munung ... 
Yamma ... 
Muna mam- 




JLtk > * • 


Waronsatha ) 
kunc^mir ) 

Taako munno 
X ly A • • * . . I 




Yarli .. 
Tullun ... 

Tallan ... 

Saleng ... 
TyaUi ... 
Yarley .. 

Tulle .. 















As might be expected, the Australian dialects are almost 
destitute of abstract terms and generic words. I cannot discover 
in any of the languages which I have examined any traces of 
figurative expressions. Among the Narrinyeri the poetical kind 
of speech so much admired by the Maori is not to be found. 
I do not know a single phrase worthy to be called a metaphor. 

The languages of the Aborigines of this continent divide them- 
selves into two classes. These are distinguished from each other 
principally by their pronouns. One class has monosyllabic or 
dissyllabic pronouns, while those of the other are polly syllabic. 
The following are specimens of the two classes: — 


1. Narrinyeri ngape 

2. Adelaide ngai 

3. Port Lincoln ngai 

4. Western Australia (Swan River) ngadjo 

5. Moorundee (lUver Murray) ... ngape 

6. Moreton Bay (Queensland) ... atta; ngai (Dippil) inta 

7. Kamilaroi (Liverpool Plains) ... ngaia 

8. Melbourne murrumbeek 

9. Wimmera tyumik 

Here we observe that the root of the first personal pronoun in 
the first seven languages is nga; but in the eighth and ninth we 


He, She, 




















have totally different roots. This indication of their being two 
races of Aborigines is supported by other facts. A kind of caste 
distinction has been found to exist among some which does not 
exist in others. The Kamilaroi and Dippil tribes, on the Upper 
Darling and its tributaries, were the Aborigines amongst whom 
this was discovered. The Rev. W. Ridley was the first to make 
this known. 

Amongst the nations of Aborigines a system of relationship 
prevails similar to the Tamilian; but it is not universal, and it 
appears that it is modified by some tribes having originally had 
a different system. Again, there is a remarkable difierence in 
colour and cast of features. Sir George Grey noticed this in 
Western Australia. Some natives have light complexions, 
straight hair, and a Malay countenance; while others have curly 
hair, are very black, and have the features of the Papuan or 
Melanesian. It is therefore probable that there are two races of 
Aborigines; and, most likely, while some tribes are purely of one 
race or the other, there are tribes consisting of a mixture of both 

Before closing this chapter on native languages I should like to 
say that I do not think it would be possible to translate the 
whole Bible into the Aboriginal tongue without importing into 
it a great number of foreign words. At the same time, the 
simple truths of the Gospel can be expressed in it. We can say 
"Pomir an amb itye, Jesuse ngum ambe;" that is, "Jesus died 
instead of us." 

A few chapters containing the most essential truths of the 
Bible — such as Creation, the Decalogue, the New Birth, and the 
Death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus — have been translated; 
biit the natives arc rapidly learning English, and any other 
means of communicating truth will soon be unnecessary. 

In translating Scripture into a barbarous language, we find it 
almost impossible to render those words ending with cUion — such 
as regeneration, sanctification, justification; but we discover that 
the truths wrapped up in these terms can be translated by means 
of the figurative expressions through which the Bible sietA tfckfe\sjL 




forth. The natives readily grasp the meaning as applied to 
spiritual and moral truth. A washing of the soul is illustrated 
by speaking of washing the body. Substitution is set forth by 
various figures; and we are led to see that the metaphorical 
style of Holy Scripture renders it the better vehicle for the 
setting forth of truth in the poorest languages. 

Narrinteri Names of Places. 

Native Name. 









Rupari .. 



Multungengun .. 







Mungkuli, Yarli.. 


The place of large sheoaks.. 

The armpit; the bend of 

the arm 
The place of where 

A place belonging to a bird 

of that name 
The lagoon of gulls 
The neck 
Whirling Water 

Round hills 

The current 

The place of cockles 

Of many sheoak boughs ... 

The points ... 

The ancient way 

At the house 

The place of grey geese ... 
The going place 

The place of red ochre 
The place of millin (sorcery) 
The lips 
The steep hill 
Mud ... 

The place of bull-ants 
The claws of crayfish 

Enousu Name of Place. 

• • • 

A point at the entrance of Lake 

The head of Loveday Bay. 

A point at the entrance to. Lake 

Albert. The crossing place. 
A place on the Peninsula. 

Point Macleay Lagoon. 

The Coorong. 

A bay at the head of Lake Albert. 

The River Murray. 

Some Coorong sandhills. 

The Murray mouth. 


Mundoo Island. 

Hindmarsh Island. 

Point Macleay. 

A spot near Point ^facleay, said 
to be Waiungare's house. 

A spot near Lake Albert River. 

The crossing-place, entrance of 
Lake Albert. 

An island near the Coorong. 


The end of Point Sturt. 

Warrin^er, Lake Albert. 


Lakes Alexandrina and Albert. 

A point in Lake Alexandrina. 

A nill on the shore of Lake Alex- 




OF Aborigines. 


1. San 

2. Moon 

3. Star 

4. Cloud 

5. Heavenji 

6. Rain 

7. Heat 
a Cold 
9. Hill 

10. r.and 

11. Sand 

12. Stone 

13. Water 

14. Sea 

15. Tree 

16. Canoe 

17. Fiflh 

18. Dog 

19. Kangaroo 

20. Fire 

21. House 

22. Spear 

23. Club 

24. Wommera 

25. Boomerang 

26. Day 

27. Night 

28. Great 

29. Small 

30. Good 

31. Bad 

32. Man 

33. Woman 

34. Boy 

35. Girl 

36. Father 

37. Mother 

38. Husband 

39. Wife 

40. Head 

41. Mouth 

42. Hand 

43. Eye 


Tribbs, Lakb 


South Australia. 













Nguk, Barekar 





Wanbi, Keli 




Yarndi, Kaiki 








Wirrangi, Brupi 


M inline 

Xgauwire, Tyin- 



N ink owe 







Adblaidb Tribb, 
South ▲cstraua. 


















• • • 









Tindo "* 







Tinyarra, Kur- 











Kakur Kagur 

• • • 




















\''emko, W^or- 






Ngakur, Kgau- 

Munno Taako 

Port Limcolx, 




• • • 

Mabingi Malko 

Pandari, Dkari 





Yerta Yurra 



Kapi, Kano 
















MiUa, Nangk 


















Tribes, Lake 

▲dbIjAIDe Tribe, 

EiYER Murray, 

Port Lincoln, 


South Australia. 



South Australia 




44. Tongue 

45. Teetti 







• • • 

46. Ear 



• • • 

47. Foot 



• • • 

48. Nose 



• • • 

49. Hair 



• • • 

50. Blood 





51. Living 



Ngenffin, Man- 



62. Dying 





53. Hearing 





54. Seeing 

Nakkin ' 




55. Sitting 





56. Making 





57. Giving 










59. Thou 





60. Ue, she, it 





61. We 





62. Ye 





63. They 





64. This 





65. Who 





66. One 





Kalbelli, Kat- 


• • • 

67. Two 




08. Three 
(i9. Four 

Kuk Kuk 

Yerra bma 

Tangul meto 

70. Dual 


Idla urla 



71. Plural 






George Taplin, 
Point Macleay, 

Vocabulary of 
Rev. Mr. 




M. Moorhouse, 

M. Schurman's 


South Australia. 


S. Australia. 




Anecdotes Illustrative of Character, Customs, &c. &c. 

The Najrinyeri are intensely superstitious. They ttoroughly 
believe in the power of evil spirits. The following incidents will 
illustrate this: — 

One night, about nine o'clock, a very powerful man who was 
called Big Jerry came to my back door and begged to see me. I 
went out and found him armed to the teeth with all sorts of 
native weapons, but he was suffering from severe toothache. He 
wanted me to give him something to relieve it. I did so, and 
after an hour he seemed better. I asked him what he had 
brought so many weapons for. He replied that he was afraid of 
wild blackfellows and evil spirits. He then begged me to go 
back to the wurley with him. It was only about five hundred 
yards off. At first I refused ; but he pitifuUy urged me to do so 
— more frightened to go out in the dark than any child I ever 
saw. At last I went. It was very ridiculous. I, the unarmed 
man, walked by the side of the armed man to protect him from 
Melape and Karungj^e, and I don't know how many other demons 

There used to live here an old native named Pelican. He was 
intensely superstitious. One day he complained that his neck 
felt bad. He said that the night before a wild blackfellow came 
and kicked him on the back of his neck, and then flew up to the 
sky in a flame. I tried to reason him out of the notion, but it 
was all of no use. His neck then began to swell and be painful, 
and soon showed that there was real inflammation, whatever 
might be the cause. I treated the place in the best manner I 
knew how, and it developed into an enormous boil at the base of 


the skull. It burst, and Pelican recovered, quite convinced of 
the dangerous effects of a kick from a supernatural wild black- 

I had another adventure with Pelican, which I will relate. A 
lad had died at the camp from inflammation of the stomach, 
aggravated by its happening to come on just after an old heathen 
had threatened the boy with sorcery for some trifling offence. 
This boy, as he lay ill, complained of burning in his stomach. 
Soon after his death. Pelican's son (Bulpuminne) was taken ill 
with inflammation of the chest. I attended to him, and put on 
a mustard poultice. I left him after applying it, telling him that 
I would return in twenty minutes. When I did so I found him 
crying with the pain, and his old father sitting by looking rather 
queer. I stooped down, took the plaster off, and proceeded to 
dress the place with some simple ointment. As I was busy doing 
this I felt a sort of flicker above my head. I started round and 
caught my friend Pelican brandishing a heavy waddy over me 
as if he would like to crack my skull. "Halloa, Pelican!" I 
shouted, "what are you up to?" "I was only going to throw 
at that crow," he replied, with assumed calmness, and pointing 
to one which sat on a neighbouring fence. I went on and 
finished my work; but I knew very well that the old fellow had 
hard work to keep from breaking my head. His reason was that 
his boy had complained that the mustard burned him, and he 
concluded that I was going to make him die in like manner as 
the other lad did, and thus his feeling of revenge was aroused 
almost to a higher pitch than he could resist. Now, this is all 
in accordance with native ideas. Their doctors, or kuldukkes, are 
as much sorcerers as practisers of the art of healing. When the 
ngaitye of the tribe is killed, if a hostile kuldukke of another 
tribe gets a piece of it — such as a bone — he ties it in the comer 
of a wallaby skin and flicks it at the people whose ngaitye or 
totem it is, and they are made sick by it. This action is called 
pemmin. Tliese kuldukkes are made by some old sorcerers 
taking two heavy black spears; these they tie side by side, and 
point them at the intended kuldukkes and then strike them with 


the weapons; then they tie an opposum skin on each of them. 
The men thus operated upon pretend to be mad, rub themselves 
all over with chalk, and run about as if demented. They are 
supposed to be able to pemmin with frightful force. One of them 
told me he once killed a magpie only by the force of sorcery. 
They pretend to extract disease, but at the same time to be 
equally able to impart it. They are supposed to be under the 
influence of the great master sorcerer — the demon Melapi; so 
evidently Pelican classed me with native doctors, and thought 1 
was a dangerous person. 

There can be no doubt but that the natives believe in the 
reality of the power of sorcery. One old sorcerer told me that he 
had put it to the test of experiment, and that he was sure of it. 
He said that he put a certain ngadhungi or charm intended 
for a particular individual to the fire, and then watched the 
result. The pei*son whom he intended to afiect immediately 
sickened and became ill; he took the charm away, and the sub- 
ject of the experiment got well. This he repeated two or three 
times with unvarj-ing results. But they say that sorcery 
has no effect upon white people. I believe that the experi- 
ments were tried upon me, but without success; the charm would 
not work. 

One day I heard a great cry at the wurleys. I went up and 
found the women wailing, with their faces blackened and hair 
shorn oif. An old man sat up in the midst with a despairing 
look on his face. I inquired the reason for all this, and learned 
that the old man had dreamed that some one at Tipping had put 
a ngadhungi to the fire to work his death, and he believed it 
must be the case. Some of the young men assured me that he 
would die unless some one went to Tipping to stop the sorcery; 
so I sent ofi* a party in the boat in compliance with their wishes. 
Next day they returned and said that they could not find any 
sorcer}% and so it was concluded that tliere must be a mistake 
somehow, and the old man got well. 

One of the principal efiects of the practice of sorcery amongst 
the natives is to develop the desire for revenge. Believing that 


enemies secretly tried to compass their deaths,, they would, if 
sorcery failed, try other means to retaliate upon them. Two or 
three would go prowling about the bush at night in order to 
surprise some enemy or his relatives — ^acting upon the native 
principle if you cannot hurt your enemy, hurt his nearest rela- 
tives. I have seen the light of such avengers of blood wander- 
ing and flickering through the scrub in the darkness; and 
on one occasion the station was nearly set on fire by such 
prowlers carelessly leaving embers amongst the dry grass. 
This constant seeking for revenge produces an atmosphere of 
suspicion amongst the natives. It is often the case that they 
will trust none but relatives; all others are regarded &s possible 
enemies. This fear of revenge leads them to burn or destroy 
every bone and fragment of the game eaten by them, lest an 
enemy should get it and make sorcery with it. 

A blackfellow named Ponge had two little children, a boy 
and a girl. One day, as they were at play together, the latter, 
with a tomahawk, chopped off her little brother s finger. Their 
father no sooner saw it than, in a paroxysm of fear and grief, he 
seized the amputated finger, popped it into his mouth, and 
swallowed it. His idea was that it was thus put away safely, 
and no enemy could get it and compass sorcery by means thereof 
against his son. 

The Narrinyeri, in their native state, were a law-abiding 
people. It is a great mistake to suppose that they herded 
together like the beasts, having no sort of government. The 
tribe was under the government of the rupuUe, or chief, and the 
elders. The most intelligent natives assure me that the power 
of the chief was much greater before the colonists came here 
than it is now. There are certain customs and laws handed 
down from generation to generation, and th^se are strictly ob- 
served. One law is that none but native w apons shall be used 
in battles between natives. I never knew this law infringed. 
It is also the law that an unfair wound shall be punished by 
the tribe. I have known the chief men in the tribe yield to 
this law. 


One morning a man called Eilkildaritpiri came to me with his 
upper lip almost bitten off. There had been a fight the night 
before, and this fellow had attacked Captain Jack when he was 
unarmed, and so Jack seized him and in a rage bit him as I have 
described. I dressed the wound as well as I could. Next morn- 
ing I was going to the camp, when I met Captain Jack. I began 
talking to him about hurting Eilkildaritpiri. He replied, "Taplin, 
don t you talk; I have just had four blows with a waddy on my 
head for it.'' The tribe had assembled and sentenced him to this 
punishment, and he had }delded, although a man whom none 
would have liked to have attacked when he had weapons in his 
hand; but he felt it right to submit to the law. 

By native law certain kinds of food were prohibited to the 
young men and boys. Twenty kinds of native game were for- 
bidden to the narumbar — that is, those undergoing initiation to 
manhood — and thirteen kinds to the boys. These prohibitions 
were strictly observed. Certain penalties were said to follow dis- 
obedience. If the boys ate wallaby they would turn grey; if 
they ate the fish called tyiri they would have sore legs; if they 
cooked food with palyi or panpandi wood, all the fish would for- 
sake the shore. Boys were also very careful not to allow then* 
hair to be cut or combed after they were about twelve years of 
age until they were made narumbar or young men. Indeed, so 
far from the natives being lawless, they had too many laws, and 
their whole lives were regulated by them. 

There are some curious .sayings amongst the natives, some of 
them grotesque and absurd. For instance, the children were 
told that \f a boy should tickle a dog until he made him laugh, 
the dog would turn into a boy, and the boy into a panpandi 
(native cherry) tree. Again, there is a large green fly called 
tenkendeli, and it is supposed that if they kill this fly, and do 
not at the same time crj' out "tenkendeli," they will not be able 
to swim any more. It is also supposed that if any one spits on 
certain rocky islands in Lake Albert he will certainly turn 
grey. I would not write these absurdities, but I think that it 
may perhaps be interesting to compare them with similar sayings 
in other tribes. 


The Narrinyeri are not destitute of powers of endurance and 
some presence of mind. One day two men were coming in two bark 
canoes from Point Sturt The water in the channel is twenty- 
five feet deep, and consequently the swell is very heavy in a 
strong wind. They started on a calm day, propelling themselves 
with fishing spears. Suddenly a heavy squall came up from the 
north-west. Immediately their frail vessels were swept from 
beneath them, and they were left struggling in the waves. It 
was impossible to return; so they bravely set themselves to swim 
across^-about four miles. They laboured on, until at last one of 
them struck down his fishing spear (which they had both re- 
tained) and felt the bottom about ten feet below. They swam a 
little further and then stuck their spears into the ground and 
rested on the tops of them. When refreshed they again swam 
on, and after three or four such rests reached the shore of Point 
Macleay. No doubt as they were swimming they would all the 
while be in dread lest Multyewanki, the lake demon, should 
seize them. 

There is a legend that once upon a time a man's child was 
playing on the shore, and he was seized and carried to the 
bottom of the lake by a Multyewanki. The father tied a line 
round his waist, got his friends to hold it, and dived in after his 
boy; but first he performed certain incantations. When he got 
to the bottom he saw Multyewankis lying asleep in various 
places, and discovered his child amongst them; so he seized his 
son, and, giving the signal to his friends, was dragged out, and he 
and his boy both recovered. 

One night Peter, the chief of the Point Malcolm tribe, was 
sleeping in a native hut, with a lot of other people. As he lay 
dozing he felt a large snake crawl up his naked body under his 
opossum-rug. Now, he knew that if he jumped up he would 
most likely get bitten; so he carefully put his hand down and 
seized the reptile by the back of the neck and held him at ann's 
length. And now he felt that it would not do to throw the 
venomous creature from him, lest it should fall on some of the 
surrounding sleepers and bite them; and yet he felt that it would 
soon writhe itself from his grasp, so he brought the snake s head 


down to his mouth and gave it a crunch with his teeth, and then 
shouted to his friends, and they jumped up and enabled him to 
cast it from him. 

The following story was told me by one of those concerned in 
the circumstances. I relate it because it brings out various 
customs of the natives before the white men appeared upon the 
scene: — 

Waukeri's Story. 

I was a big boy, and strong enough to help my father haul the nets when he 
went fishing. My father's name was Katyirene. I have a sister about two years 
younger than I am. Her name is Ngalyalli. The camp of the Lakalinyeri, or 
tribe to which we belonged, was pitched at llauukkL We came from Piltangk, 
where we had been spearing pomeri (a fish). When we got to the camp at 
iUuakki, the old men who were sitting by the fire bid us welcome, by patting 
their closed right hands against their stomachs, and then throwing them from 
them towards us, opening them as they did so. This is called menmendin, and 
means that their mewe, or bowels, go out to us. It is also the way in which we 
show we thank any one. We stayed there that night My mother (Pungari) and 
my two little brothers were there. But we only stayed one night. My father 
thought that there might be tinuwarri (bream) at Ngiakkung, and so he said he 
would take his hooks and lines (piri and nunggi) and go and try to get some. 80 
I and Ngalyalli said we would go witli him. When we started in the morning, 
our Rupulli and the old men spoke very kindly. "Many bream shall be in your 
koye (basket), brother,'* said they. '*Kalyan ungune lewin" (which means **here 
you sitting"), said my father to the old men. And they answered "Nginte 
ngoppun" ("Thou walking"). This is our way of saying good-bye. Then my 
father said, "El el our ou" ("Will must go i^ow"); and so we started. We went 
right across the country. We killed two or throe wallabies on the way, for my 
father was very quick with a waddy, and could kill wallabies as well as a white- 
fellow with a gun. Wlien he threw his puri, it was sure to hit. But my father 
would not let us eat the Hesh for fear it should make us grey and ugly ; he skinned 
them, and made a thing to carr^' water, a skin bag, with one of the skins, and be 
ate a little of one of them liimself, but he would not let us touch it. We got to 
Ngiakkung that night and slept there. We fished all the next day in the channel 
at the head of the bay. We ate tinuwarri that day. At night we made our 
viiirley with boughs close under the rocks. In the mctniing my father said he felt 
very bad, so he sat in the ^^-urley and I and Ngalyalli fishe<l. After gauwel (noon, 
my father got worse. We were very much frighteneil. He got so bad he could 
not speak, and did not know us. And then he died. The sun set soon after 
tind it came on dark, and we were very much frightened. We heard the wind 
whispering in the she-aoaks, and we crept close to each other. There by the fire, 
which we kept up for fear of being in the dark, lay our father, wrapped up in his 
itpoMtum rug. O, it was terrible. He had been talking kindly to us only last 
night, and now there he lay dead. We heard the yell of many merkanar kel (wild 
dogs) over on the fiats at the head of the bay. What could we do? It would 
never do to leave our fatlier there to be eaten by them. We cried all night. 
Ngalyalli rolled herself up in her rug, and covered her head for fear. I could not 
do so. I sat and looked around in the dark, and sometimes I thought I saw the 


wandering light of merkani (enemies), and then I thought I saw a blackfellow 
standing not far oS, and the cold sweat ran down my face, I was so frightened. 
Bnt the moon rose afterwards, and I saw it was only a black stump. But I did 
not go very near it knowing that Melape, the wood devil, sometimes makes him- 
self look like this, so that he may catch people. At last daylight came. We did 
not know what to do. We could not leave our father to the wild dogs. Neither 
of us could leave the other alone with the dead. So, at last, I and Ngalyalli took 
each a kanake (a pointed waddy) and dug a hole in the sand, and then took our 
father's body and lifted it in, and laid it gently down. Then we both cried. And 
then we buried it with sand. And afterwiu*ds we did not know what to do. 
What would the old men say? Our father was a man, and ought not to have been 
put under ground like that, but to have been dried in the camp, while the tribe 
mourned for him. And then we thought somebody must have killed him with 
ngadhungi (sorcery), and perhaps they might kill us toa We got up and ran 
away from the place in terror. I took my father's kanaker (waddies) and spear ; 
Ngalyalli carried the tinnwarri we had caught and the skin full of water ; and we 
went right into the scrub. Then night came on, and we made a fire from a bit of 
bark we carried with us from last night's camp. Very little we slept. We felt 
sick with fear. We cooked a tinuwarri, but we could not eat much. Next day 
we went again to the lake, as if we would go to Tuldurrug ; but it was hot, and so 
we camped again. Next morning we were too bad to move, so we stayed there all 
that day and night. In the middle of the day after I was trying to sleep a little, 
when I heard a man say, "Kai hai ! kai hai !"* and I looked up and there stood my 
father's brother, and my grandfather, and two other men. They came up and 
when they saw us they cried, " Yakkai ! Vakkai ! Yakkaiakat ! t Poor children !" 
And I got up and threw myself into the arms of him who was now my only father, 
and sobbed a long time. Then they made me and Ngalyalli drink water and eat some 
meat. After we had done so, we told them our story, and then they cried again. 
They said they had wondered we did not return, and so they went down to seek 
us at Ngiakkung. There they tracked us to our camp, and then they lost our 
father's tracks and found only ours, so they went on and followed them until they 
found us. Next morning we started for itauukki. We went slowly, except one 
man, who went on quickly, so as to tell our people. Just at pangarinda (the time 
of shadows, evening) we got to the camp on the hill at Kauukki. When the 
people saw us coming the whole tribe cried with a loud voice. Everybody wept 
and mourned greatly, and were very sorry to think that we two poor children 
must have suffered. For many days after I and Ngalyalli were ill, and it was a long 
time before we got over the terrible death of our poor father. He lies there in hia 
grave at Ngiakkung where we put him. 


There lived amongst the Piltinyerar an old man and his son. 
The name of the latter was Ngunaitponi. The name of his 
father, after the native fashion, was lost in that of the child; so 
he was commonly called Ngunaitpon-ami — i.e., the father of 

* The native interjection of wonder and surprise. 
+ Interjections — dear I Alas ! Poor tiling ! 


Ngunaitponi. The old man was a tall, venerable-looking savage. 
His hair was cut closely on his head from constant mourning for 
many deceased relatives. He had a long and grizzled beard. 
His body was covered with a grey, shaggy coat of hair, especially 
on the back and chest, his legs and thighs having the least It 
is remarkable how much hair many of the natives have. 
Exposure to the atmosphere in a nude state is decidedly favour- 
able to its growth. I have many times seen children of four 
years old who never wore clothes with quite a respectable coat of 
fur down their backs. When they wear clothes this seems 
to wear off; in their nude state it increases and forms a covering 
for life. I have ^so seen women of the savage class with beards 
and whiskers far more abundant than are to be seen on some 
white men. 

But to return from this digression. Ngunaitpon-ami was a 
tall, hairy, grey, venerable savage. He had a good deal of the 
natural courtesy of a well-bred barbarian — courtesy gained by 
the necessities of camp life. Ngunaitponi was a man of about 
forty, tall and well-proportioned. Like many natives, he had in 
his youth lost an eye by having a spear thrown at him in a 
fight The common hunting-ground of these two was the great 
beds of reeds which grow on the banks of the Lower Murray. 
These, and the river itself, yielded wildfowl and crayfish in 

One day, when I was conversing with Ngunaitponi, he told 

me the following singular story, which, as it illustrates the 

superstition of the natives, I will relate as nearly as possible in his 

own words: — 

NouNAiTPONi's Story. 

We have always 1)elieved that people live<l after death. We call the spirit of a 
man pangari. * The old people often talk about where the spirit of a man haa 
gone to after it has left the body; they say that it goes westward to Nomnderi. 
Then we lielievo in other spirit^i who walk about the earth, and who can make 
themselves to be seen or unseen as they like. There is NalkAru, a terrible spirit 
who seeks to kill i>eople ; and there is Melapi, who is always lying in wait for men. 
Have any of us ever seen these spirits ? Yes ; I have heard our old men say they have. 
My father saw Melapi once; the old man says he is sure be did. The way it 

* Pangari means "shadow ;" it is equivalent to our term "shade." 


happened was this : — My father had gone into the reeds to snare ducks. He took 
with him the long rod, with a noose at the end. He had patiently sat at the edge 
of the swamp until the ducks came. At last one got within reach, so he gently 
and skilfully let the noose fall over its head and then suddenly dragged it out. 
This frightened the rest of the flock, so he got up and came away. He walked in 
a path through the high, thick reeds, which were far above his head, and then 
came to the place where they were lower — about up to his waist. All on a sud- 
den he heard the whirr of a waddy as it flew by his head, and yet he saw nothing. 
He started, dropped the duck and his rod, and put up his hand to grasp a kanake 
out of the basket which hung from his neck down his back. He supposed some 
enemy had flung at him from the reeds, and wan about to make an attack. At 
that instant he felt something grapple with him, but yet he saw nothing. Strong 
arms were put round him, and a great invisible being hugged him in his grasp. 
He had heurd that Melapi sometimes thus attacks people, and that it is wisest t4> 
resist ; so, although he shuddered with fear, he returned grip for grip, and wrestletl 
with the spirit. Tlie reeds crashed and crackled under his feet as he swayed about 
in the struggle. He felt like a boy in the power of the, yet he manfully 
returned strain for strain. He felt faint with horror. To get away was impossible ; 
to yield and be dragged off was awful. He put forth another effort. He fancied 
the unseen one yielded a little. Encouraged, he put forth all his strength and 
tried to throw his adversary. As he did so with straining muscles and clenched 
teeth and staring eyes he began to see a dim outline of a form like a man, and as 
he strove it became plainer and plainer. Ho gave a wild cry, and as he did s<> 
Melapi burst from his grasp and disappeared. When my father came back to the 
camp, he was weak aud tired. He told us what he had felt and seen, and always 
afterwards firmly believed that he had wrestled with the great MelapL 

Ngunaitpon-arni died some time afterwards. He had listened 
many times to the Word of God. It is a comfort to know that 
he died calling upon the name of the Lord. In his last illness he 
was heard fervently praying to the Lord Jesus to save him. 
Surely we may hope that he 'was saved. 


The Narrinyeri often utter inarticulate sounds in order to ex- 
press their faelings and wishes. These answer to our interjections, 
such as, oh! ah! &;c.; only it is not easy to express them by letters*. 

Their method of saying yes and no is very difficult to write 
down. A sort of grunt, which may perhaps answer to the letters 
ng pronounced in an affirmative tone, means "yes;" the same sort 
of grunt, which can only be written by the same letters, but 
uttered in a negative, forbidding tone, means "no." 

Their expressions of surprise are the following — "Kai, hai!" 
This is a pure interjection, and only means sudden astonishment. 


"Porluna" — this means "Oh, children!" and is a common expres- 
sion of wonder and amazement. "Tyin embe!" — this expression 
is too obscene to be translatable; nevertheless, it is a very common 
interjection of astonishment amongst the old blacks. The word 
"koir* is used to attract attention or to call out to a person t<> 
come. It is uttered long, and the o very round. The same 
word "koh" uttered short, is a sort of note of interrogation, 
and is used in asking a question. The h is strongly aspirated. 
A sort of cry used to attract attention may be written " ngaaaah'* 
— the h strongly aspirated. It must be understood, however, 
that in all these aises our letters only give an approximation to 
the sound; it must be heard in order to be understood. 

Some of the old women, by way of salutation on meeting a 
friend, will say, " Kaw, kah, kah, kah." It sounds very much 
like an old crow. 

All the natives, old .ind young, when they are hurt, cry out, 
" Nanghai, nanghai, nanghai!** — "My father, my father, my 
father!" or else, "Nainkowa, nainkowa, nainkowa!" — ^''My 
mother, my mother, my mother!" Males usually say the 
fonner, females the latter, although not invariably bo. It is 
ludicrous to hear an old man or woman with a grey head, 
whose i>arents have been dead for years, when they hurt them- 
selves cry like children and say "nanghai" or "nainkowa," as the 
case may be. 

The Narrinyeri are skilful in the utterance of emotion by sound. 
They will admire and practice the corrobery (ringbalin) of 
another tribe merely for the sounds of it, although they may not 
understand a word of the meaning. They will learn it with great 
appreciation if it seems to express some feelings which theirs does 
not. They may not be able to define theTfeelings, but yet this is 
the case. 

The following extract from my journal will illustrate their apti- 
tude for expressing feeling merely by sound. Of course I am 
aware that in this they are like most savage tribes : — 

"7th March, 18—. S died the day before yestertlay. At the request of 

the natives I r«a<l the burial service at her grave to-day. At the funeral I could 


not help noticing, what I have many times noticed before, the artistic manner in 
which the wail was raised. After I had finished the burial service, to which they 
were all very attentive, they proceeded in native fashion to raise a loud lamenta- 
tion over the grave. First of all old Kartoinyeri and Winkappi uttered a keen 
wail in a very long, high note, gradually lowering the tone ; this was joined in by 
all the women present. Then the rest of the men uttered a long loud, deep bass 
groan. As that rolled away the keen wail of Kartoinyeri and Winkappi and the 
women broke in, and as that began to lower in tone the deep groan of the men 
was heard. This was continually repeated for about ten minutes. All stood 
around the grave, tears rolling down the cheeks of many ; but I noticed that the 
chief mourners made the least noise. As an expression of grief by sound it waa 

Thus far my jouroal; and at corrobories I have noticed, and 
have heard it remarked by others, that the sound without the 
words was adapted to the temper of the singers. If it is an 
occasion of discord and defiance, a savage shout will be heard; 
whUe on occasion of a wedding the sound will be merry and 
jocular, although always very wild. I have often imagined the 
feelings of a party of shipwrecked people on a lonely coast 
hearing the sound of a great corrobery for the first time. I 
cannot conceive anything more appalling or expressive of utter 



The Future of the Aboriginal RACEa 

It is common to heaj; even intelligent people speak of the 
Aborigines as a race wEich within a few years is certain to 
become extinct They point to the diminished numbers of 
the red men of America and the Maories of New Zealand, and 
declare their conviction that it is a law of nature that the 
uncivilised should die out to make way for the civilised — ^that 
low-class races should perish in order that high-class races might 
take their place. Very little is said in opposition to such state- 
ments, and it is taken for granted that they are correct. 

Now, the writer is quite willing to grant that appearances, as 
&r as they are connected with Anglo-Saxon colonisation, are 
altogether in fiBtvour of these opinions; but yet, when a wider 
view of things is taken, &cts may be seen which suggest that 
these assertions may not be so correct as they appear at first 
sight If we look back very far into the histoiy of the world, 
we see that a process of colonisation has been going on, and 
that it has not been the invariable rule that the barbarous race 
should die out in the presence of the civilised. To take a 
familiar instance, the Ancient Britons did not become extinct 
after the advent of the Roman invaders. We need not even 
go so far back as that Although the Aboriginal races of 
America were treated with great cruelty by the Spaniards and 
Portuguese, they did not die out so rapidly as some equally fine 
races such as the North American Indians and Maories are dying 
out under the just and benevolent and indulgent treatment of 
British colonists. I am also informed that Dutch ocdonisation 
does not result in the destruction of the Aboriginal races, but, on 
the contrary, that these races increase and are benefited by 



the treatment which they receive from the colonists. Now, 
these facts suggest that it is at least possible that those persons 
are mistaken who regard the extinction of the Aborigines as a 
painful certainty; also that there may be some faults in our 
method of treatment which are the causes of such lamentable 
consequences. ^ 

The British are, as we all know, peculiarly disposed to self- 
government. It is this which makes them such successful colo- 
nists. A small community is no sooner planted in any country 
than they exhibit the results of their national training in a 
capacity for regulating and organising their own affidrs. Colonial 
governments proceed on the presumption that their people possess 
ability of this sort, and let them manage for themselves; hence 
district and shire coimcils are instituted, and all that sort of 
thing. It is very different with other European nations. When 
a number of Frenchmen or Dutchmen or Spaniards colonise, they 
proceed in quite a different way. They have always been 
accustomed to regard government as a something by which they 
were managed and regulated, and not so much as an organisation 
in which they took part themselves; consequently when an off- 
shoot breaks from the body of the nation they are careful that a 
portion of the governing power shall go with it, so that these 
people may be regulated and formed into a community by the 
authorities to which they are accustomed. The weak are sup- 
ported, the poor are provided for, the irregular are compelled to 
yield to the laws of order, and the roads and police and revenues 
are all under the control of the central power. Supposing, then, 
that there are Aborigines in the country to which these colonists 
go, they are all brought under the central government. What 
they must do and what they must not do is prescribed 
to them; officers are appointed with power to rule them; 
they are forbidden to pursue any practices which would be 
injurious to them; they are required to conform to the regu- 
lations which are made for their benefit. If necessary, even 
force is used to compel them, as refractory children, to do that 
which is for their good; and they do not become extinct under 


tills treatment. But in a British colony all this is reversed. 
Just as the colonists are, as far as possible, allowed to manage 
their own affairs, so the Aborigines are left to themselves to do 
as they like so long as they do not interfere with the colonists. 
Instead of a ruler being appointed for them, and the strong arm 
of authority thrown round them, a protector is appointed whose 
duty it is to see that the European residents do not injure them. 
If an effort is made by the government to benefit them by trying 
to induce them to adopt a civilised life, it is left entirely at their 
option whether they permit themselves to come under the pro- 
vision made for their benefit or not. It is probable that this 
system of leaving the Aborigines to themselves is the cause of all 
the mischief to them. 

When the Aborigines are brought into contact with European 
civilisation in the shape of a British colony, they are exposed to 
influences of which they have no experience, and the evil results 
of which they cannot guard against. The very food and drink 
of the white people is strange to them, and they are likely to in- 
jure themselves by the use of it. So much has this been felt to 
be the case that some colonial governments have forbidden the 
giving of intoxicating drinks to the natives. Now, this inex- 
perience of the natives leads to all sorts of injurious and fatal 
consequences. In their native state these people are able enough 
and careful enough to make laws and regulations for their own 
benefit They readily take advantage of the lessons of experience 
in devising their own customs. In proof of this their marriage 
laws may be adduced. 

Now it is evident that in common justice we are bound to see 
that the Aborigines do not suffer from our occupation of the soil. 
We are under moral obligation to see that they are no worse off 
than they were before through our taking possession of the 
country. This will be granted by every one. Then it is cer- 
tainly our duty to make such laws and regulations as will pre- 
vent them from suffering through their inexperience of the new 
state of things which is set up around them. It wiU be only a 
proof of our kindness if, in the capacity of our brothers' keeper, 



we kindly enforce by all humane means such beneficial ordi- 
nances. This would necessitate special legislation for the 
Aborigines. There should be an Aci of the colonial or Imperial 
Parliament prescribing the sort of treatment which they should 
receive. This should declare wherein they are to be excepted 
from the operation of the laws affecting Europeans — make 
special laws suited to their condition, forbidding any barbarous 
practices which were injurious to them, such as drying the dead, 
or sorcery, or poison revenge, or compelling young men to go 
through the narumbe ceremony, and, finally, set apart reserves 
and provide for their benefit, comfort, subsistence, and employ- 
ment. The benefits conferred should be material and large, — 
such a law should be enforced, except in cases of crime, not so 
much by positive punishment as by sternly withholding benefits 
from the refractory and disobedient, and prohibiting their being 
imparted even by their own people. Nothing hits an Aboriginal 
so hard as to withhold from him benefits which he sees his fellows 
enjoying. It would be also necessary that clauses should be 
introduced regulating the employment of the natives by Euro- 
peans; and it would be a good plan to only permit the employ- 
ment of the obedient and well conducted, — such to be supplied 
with some token of their character. And it would be a severe 
punishment to prevent the employment of the insubordinate. 
The natives would have to be treated as children in some respects, 
but not in all. 

In order to carry out such a law, not only a Protector of 
Aborigines would have to be appointed, but a ruler — an oflScer 
charged with their welfare, having absolute authority over them, 
and responsible to the Colonial Government. It would be the 
duty of such an officer to have intelligent Aborigines taught 
the English language, and through them to make their people 
understand the law. They are inclined to be a law-abiding 
people, and although there might perhaps be some resistance, 
they would soon submit to it. It would also be the duty of 
such an official to see that proper medical attendance was 
provided for them. 


It is not wise to attempt to civilise these people too fitst. 
Judgment has to be exercised, and the treatment to be adapted 
to their condition. We are not to suppose that they are capable 
of taking upon them the duties of a state of society which we 
have been trained for by ages of civilisation. 

Is it too much to expect that one more organised effort will be 
made to save this race from extinction? There are yet many 
thousands of Aborigines in the province governed by the colony 
of South Australia. It is indispensable, if any good is to be 
done, that the present policy should be reversed, and that the 
Government should come forward with paternal legislation for 
their benefit. At present the Aborigines are being injured, not 
by cruelty, but by ill-judged kindness. They are treated by 
many of the settlers as almost unreasoning beings; they are 
foolishly humoured and spoiled; and it is no wonder if they 
become like spoiled children, and ruin their health and condition 
by self-indulgence. The restraints of native law, which were to 
a great degree beneficial, have been removed by the presence of 
Europeans and the consequent inability of their chiefs and elders 
to enforce it; thus, lawless and unregulated — sometimes un- 
wisely indulged, at others half-starved — sometimes clothed, at 
other times naked, the prey of his lusts and passions — what 
wonder if the Aborigine goes rapidly to destruction and death ! 
The writer has often said that such treatment as he has seen 
natives pursue among themselves was of a character which 
would kill a horse, much more a man. 

But supposing that such a system was to be instituted by the 
Government, it must not be expected that it would do every- 
thing which needs to be done for the Aborigines. There 
would still be neceassary the imwearied efforts of the missionary 
of the Cross. The writer firmly believes that nothing but the 
gospel of Jesus Christ can save these natives from extinction. 
They are not an irreligious race. The term applied by Paul to 
the civilised and refined Athenians might be applied to them — 
they are "very religious" (Acts xviL 22) — that is, so far as 
the rites and observances of their system of belief are ^^^- 



cerned. Those of the natives who have taken hold of the 
gospel have done so heartily, with faith and devotion. The 
greatest caution must always be observed in the peculiar cir- 
cumstances in which the natives are placed not to give them 
reason to suppose that the mere profession of religion will 
cause them to receive greater consideration from the authorities 
than the merely moral and industrious who make no profes- 
sion. Their attendance upon the preaching of the gospel and 
the ordinances of religion must be free and unrestrained, or it 
will be of no moral use whatever. We can no more make 
Aborigines into disciples of Christ by laws and regulations 
than we can any other people. At the same time, the Christian 
missionary has to always show himself to be on the side of law 
and order and government. He teaches that '^ whoso resisteth 
the power resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that resist 
must receive to themselves condemnation." His duty is to 
enjoin the learning to read as a religious duty which is upon the 
very face of the Holy Word of God; and then he is to preach the 
gospel lovingly, forbearingly, and perseveringly to all, endeavour- 
ing to seek and to save that which was lost, even as the Master 
did Himself 


The Wreck of the Brigantine Maria. 

The following particulars of the wreck of the Maria have been 
compiled by the writer from the South Australian Begiatei*, to 
which he was allowed access through the kind courtesy of the 
proprietors of that old-established newspaper — the first in South 

In the end of July, 1840, a report was sent to the authorities 
by Police-Sergeant W. Mac&rlane, enclosing a letter from H. 
Nixon, of Encounter Bay, which stated that the natives said that 
a number of white people who had escaped from a wreck had 
been killed by the blacks up the sea-coast in the direction of 
Rivoli Bay. Ten men, five women, and some children were said 
to have thus been murdered. A letter from Dr. Penny confirmed 
this account, which was substantiated by the result of the in- 
quiries of Sergeant Macfarlane himself At that time the country 
on the coast between Encounter Bay and Rivoli Bay was a terra 
incognita to the colonists. An active whale fishery was at that 
time being carried on at Encounter Bay. The Government, in 
consequence of this report, despatched Mr. PuUen, who was at 
that time at the Elbow (now Goolwa), to learn particulars by pro- 
ceeding as far as he could up the Coorong in a whaleboai. 

Mr. Pullen hastily got together a party, consisting of himself. 

Dr. Penny, five boatmen, one police-trooper, and three natives of 

Encounter Bay. They started from Encounter Bay on the 28th 

of July, so no time was lost, and on the 29th proceeded down 

I the river, on the south side of Hindmarsh Island, to the eatc8JCL<^ 


of the Coorong. On the 30th they continued their voyage up 
the Coorong, and at last came to a spot which was pointed out 
by one of the Encounter Bay natives named Peter, as that on 
which some of the murders took place. This, he had no doubt 
ascertained from the blacks who were implicated, as they have a 
name for every nook and comer of the shores of the lakes; so 
the party landed on the shore of the Coorong which is towards 
the sea, and a sickening spectacle presented itself. There, par- 
tially covered with sand, lay legs, arms, and portions of several 
human bodies. Upon gathering these remains together, they, by 
the aid of the doctor who was with them probably, made out 
that there were the bodies of two men, three women, and a 
female child of ten (one woman's body was almost denuded of 
flesh, except on the hands and feet), two male children— one 
apparently about fifteen years of age and the other ten; and 
at a little distance lay the body of a female infant. All were 
dreadfully bruised about the face and head, and they were 
stripped of every rag of clothing. They removed the wedding- 
rings which they found on the fingers of the women, and then 
reverently buried the remains of the poor murdered people. 
This occupied the party till evening, and it is easy to imagine 
with what indignation they left the vicinity of the scene of such 
an atrocity. 

It should be stated that the Coorong is a long, narrow sheet 
of salt water, running out of the lower part of Lake Alexandrina 
towards the south-east, and separated from the ocean by a penin- 
sula of sandhills about two miles wide. Some of these sandhills 
are of white sand, without any vegetation, while others are 
covered with shrubs and creeping plants. Between them there 
are small flats of pasture-ground. The scenery on the Coorong 
is very wild and peculiar. There is the solitary-looking sheet of 
water, stretching for sixty miles, and presenting, as its waves 
dance in the breeze, beautiful tints of blue and green. On the 
right are the white and sombre hills of sand, and on the left 
green plains dotted with clumps of the dark sheoak. The waters 
abound with fish and game; consequently the shores were in- 


habited by a fierce and vigorous tribe of the natives belonging 
to the nation called Narrinyeri. But we must proceed. 

On the 31st Mr. Pullen and his party continued their voyage 
up the Coorong in search of the wreck from which the murdered 
people had come. They saw several natives, but at first they all 
kept at a distance and appeared to be frightened. At last they 
managed to communicate with them, and learned that other 
white people had been killed — some on one side of the Coorong, 
and some on the other — and that two men and one woman had 
crossed to the islands (probably Mundoo and Towadjeri), and had 
been killed there. On the 1st of August the party saw many 
natives with European clothing, and the next day came upon the 
tracks of people on the mud of the shore which were evidenUy 
not natives'. There were the marks of the children's footsteps; 
and in places these disappeared, as if the men had carried the 
weary little ones. On the 9th of August the party got back to 
the Goolwa (or Elbow, as it was then called). The impression on 
their minds at that time was that some of the shipwrecked 
people had escaped. 

The particulars brought by Mr. Pullen s party, and especially 
the rings foimd on the fingers of two of the bodies of the women^ 
led to the identification of the persons who had been murdered. 
They were found to be the passengers and crew of the brigantine 
Maria, 36 tons, of Hobart Town. She had arrived in Port Ade- 
laide on the 7th of June, 1840, and had sailed again on the 2l8t 
June following, under the command of Capt. Smith, for Hobart 
Town, in ballast. According to the South Avstralian Register of 
August loth, 1840, the passengers and crew were as follows: — 
There were Captain Smith and his wife and the mate, and eight 
men and boys before the mast. The passengers were Mr. and 
Mrs. Denham and family, consisting of three boys and two girls,. 
George Young Green and wife, Thomas Daniel and wife, Mrs. 
York and infant, James Strutt (a servant of Mr. Denham's), and 
Mr. Murray. Mr. Denham and Mrs. York were, it appears, 
brother and sister. The total number on board, then, was 


The Government resolved, after receiving Mr. PuUen's report, 
that a strong body of police-troopers under Major O'Halloran 
should be sent to make further investigations. This force was 
rapidly gathered at the Elbow, and, with Major O'Halloran in 
command and Inspector Tolmer as his second, started on Friday, 
the 21st August, 1840, for the Coorong. That day they got 
fourteen miles beyond the mouth of the River Murray. By the 
23rd they arrived on the scene of the murders ; and on that day, 
after much galloping about the scrub, captured thirteen native 
men and two lads and fifty women and children. They found 
articles of European clothing on almost all these people, and 
sometimes the garments were stained with blood. They also 
foimd in possession of the natives a silver watch and some silver 
spoons. The tribes to which they had now come were noted 
amongst the Aborigines for their ferocity and warlike character. 
The whites had frequently heard of them from sealers and others 
as the great Murray tribe. They consisted of all the Narrinyeri 
on the southern sides of Lakes Alexandrina and Albert. These 
had rapidly gathered at the news of the wreck, and were now in 
force on the Coorong; but, although at this time they could 
muster easily eight hundred warriors,* the sight of the strange 
armed troopers dashing through the scrub completely daunted 

On the 24th, the expedition saw large numbers of ferocious- 
looking men, who hung about the skirts of the scrub. Almost 
all had some article of European clothing. At last they came to 
some native huts, and found male and female garments which 
had been drenched with blood. Aided by the Encounter Bay 
natives who had been brought with the expedition, they made 
inquiries as to the actual perpetrators of the murders, and there 
were pointed out by some of the captives four very truculent- 
looking savages. Two of these were pursued and shot down, 
and two more were captured. In the native huts were found 
newspapers, mail letters opened and torn, the leaves of a Bible 
and part of the log of the Maria. 

* An eye-witness soon after counted eight hundred fighting men at a corrobery. 


The chiefs of the expedition now came to the conclusion that 
something must be done to satisfy the demands of justice on the 
murderers, and to strike terror into the minds of the natives and 
deter them from similar atrocities in the future; so a court of 
justice was extemporised on the spot, and such evidence as was 
obtainable adduced in support of the charge against the two 
prisoners. There appears to have been plenty of proof that these 
two men were leaders in the massacre; so a verdict of guilty was 
pronounced against them with the universal assent of the party. 
By virtue of the commission from His Excellency the Governor 
held by Major O'Halloran, he then passed sentence of death 
upon them. The next day (the 25th of August) the natives 
were driven to a spot near the place where the bodies of some of 
the murdered people were found, and in the presence of their 
countrymen hanged in sheaoak trees over the graves of their 
victims. They evinced great courage at the place of execution, 
and died immediately. The bodies were left hanging in the 
trees, and the other blacks warned not to touch them. This they 
carefully abstained from doing, and the carcases of the culprits 
were suspended there until the weather caused them to fall to 
pieces. The rest of the natives were allowed to depart, and they 
at once precipitately fled from the vicinity of the expedition. It 
appeared, upon inquiry, that a man named Roach and his mate, 
who had gone up the Coorong for some purpose, had ako been 
killed by these people. 

The expedition now pressed on in order to find the wreck, and 
on the 4th of September obtained another watch from the natives, 
the dial stained with blood. In the huts of these people much 
European clothing was found, so the party set fire to the huts and 
consumed them. They now commimicated with a party which 
had been sent up the coast in a whaleboat from Encounter Bay 
under the command of Mr. Thomson. They found that these had 
first discovered the longboat and then the remains of the wreck of 
the Maria in Lacepede Bay. 

The expedition now returned down the Coorong, and dis* 
covered other bodies of the murdered people, which they reve- 
rently interred. In the vicinity of these bcyiifta ^y^N^T^^^^yS^u^ 


were found. The native women, when questioned, said that the 
white people had parted into two companies, one of which crossed 
the Coorong. They said that some of the natives rushed upon 
them and held them while others beat them on the head with 
clubs until they were dead. 

The expedition having arrived at the head of the Lake Albert 
peninsula, scoured the whole of it, so thatif any survivors of the 
wrecked party remained they might be discovered; but the only 
result was to terrify the blacks and drive them to take refuge in 
the great beds of reeds by Lake Albert. No further traces being 
discoverable, the members of the expedition turned their faces 
towards Encoimter Bay, and arrived at the Elbow, whence the 
men of the force were dispersed to their homes. 

This account of the wreck of the Maria perfectly agrees in the 
main particulars with that which the natives themselves give. 
Not one person is known to have escaped from the natives. The 
discrepancies between the natives' accoimt and that given above 
only refer to the number of natives executed, which the report 
says was four — two shot and two hanged; the natives say it 
was six. The report states that twenty-six persons were mas- 
sacred; the natives say twenty-five, as one woman got across the 
Murray mouth and escaped. Of this we have no other evidence. 
The natives' account states that the shipwrecked party was 
guided down the Coorong until they reached the part opposite 
Lake Albert, where they were induced to separate, and then 
murdered. The place of burial and persons foimd exactly agree 
with the account given to the writer by a woman who helped to 
bury them. 

A great deal of discussion took place in the papers at the time 
as to the wisdom and legality of the execution of the natives, 
and His Excellency Governor Gawler issued a solemn Minute of 
Council vindicating the expedition. Time, however, has proved 
that a wiser course could not have been adopted than the prompt 
punishment of such an atrocious massacre. 












{Formtrlf Protetior t/ the Abori^imes, SmtCA Auttruiia.) 



It was fortunate that the tribe of Aborigines occupying the 
site of Adelaide and its neighbourhood was neither numerous, 
powerful, nor disposed to be unfriendly to the early colonists of 
South Australia. There was a sincere desire, on the part of the 
settlers in general, to ameliorate the moral and physical condition 
of those degraded specimens of humanity; and that feeling, 
coupled with a natural curiosity to search into the mysteries of 
their origin, and their present status, induced many persons to 
make them the subject of careful study. In my own case, official / 
duty was an additional motive to an earnest wish to prosecute a 
course of inquiry so interesting in an ethnological and philological 
point of view. The sanguine expectations entertained by many 
persons, in regard to the civilization of the natives, have been 
doomed to disappointment; and the almost entire disappearance, 
from the face of the earth, of the Adelaide and adjacent tribes, the 
probable precursor of complete annihilation of the race, increases 
the interest of establishing a record, however imperfect, of their 
existence and its modes. A diversity of customs and super- 
stitions; a complexity of dialects, sometimes showing not the 
slightest indications of a common origin, in use over a compara- 
tively small tract of country unbroken by physical obstructions, 
such as lofty moimtain ranges and large rivers, make the study 
of the Australian Aborigines as great a puzzle as probably that 
of any original races in the world. 


It is principally my purpose to give a brief account of the 
Adelaide tribe, obtained either by personal observation or direct 
information derived from the natives themselves. With a view, 
however, of showing the extraordinary difference of language that 
prevails, within a space of not more than fifty miles in extent> 
many words of the Encounter Bay tribe, and a few also of that 
of Rapid Bay, have been interspersed among those of the Adelaide 
natives, and are distinguished by the initials e and r. There is 
manifestly a considerable difference among the natives in regard 
to degree of knowledge and capability of using their language. 
Here and there are to be met with a few possessing remarkable 
intelligence, and showing a real desire to afford general informa- 
tion, and to acquire the language of the colonists. On the other 
hand, one of the greatest impediments to becoming acquainted 
with an aboriginal dialect is the general indifference of the natives, 
and their slovenly habit of clipping, or contracting the words 
in ordinary use, and of substituting different vowels, and hard 
for soft consonants, or mce versd. Though the dialects of 
Adelaide and Encounter Bay are so distinct as scarcely to have 
been derived from a common source, there are many words, used 
only by intermediate groups, but intelligible to those on either 
side of them. Hence it is very probable that the vocabulary of 
the Adelaide tribe may contain words that properly belong to 
the various groups which occupy the localities of Onkaparinga^ 
Willunga and Aldinga inclusive; these groups being all friendly 
and frequently visiting Adelaide. Again, from the country to the 
east of Encounter Bay, many words have evidently been intro- 
duced into the Encounter Bay dialect, and others altered in con- 
struction by the natives about the Goolwa and Lower Murray. 
The natives evince great facility in compounding words, in 
forming new ones to represent objects previously unknown to 
them, and, also, in inventing figurative expressions. Numerous 
examples of compound words will be found in the vocabulary, as, 
for instance, moolayappa (nose-hole) nostrils; ngooroowerpo, 
backbone; of constructed words, as cherle (forearm), cherlinyer- 
angge, shirt-sleeves; koole (head), koolinySre, hat; and of figura- 


tive expressions, as mayookdmbo, the man rainbow; ummaiche 
kombo, the woman rainbow: for the outer and inner arcs of the 
rainbow; yure (an ear); yure ilia (two ears), the native name for 
Mount Lofty. Nouns have three numbers distinguished by ter- 
mination, as mayoo, mayoola, mayoona, a man, two men, several 
men;, meena, meenoola, meenoona — ^an eye, two eyes, several 
eyes. Terminations, common to many words, have evidently 
similar meaning or power. Thus: inga, oongga, ungga, imply 
locality; as perre, a river; perringga, the ground about the river; 
tando, a bag; tandoongga, the contents of a bag; werle, a hut; 
werlingga, persons or things in a hut. In the words of which two 
or more forms are given, these are mostly different inflections 
con*esponding to cases or tenses, but not accurately determined. 
To the proper names of men and women, usually given soon after 
birth, are frequently attached others that are distinctive, as well 
as nicknames, taken from those of animals or inanimate objects, 
or indicative of physical peculiarities; and derisive terms are 
occasionally met with, as paiche bolte, for a disagreeable old 
woman. Words are often used generically with specific adjuncts, 
as Paicha, the general term for serpents and various stinging and 
poisonous animals and plants: toonoo paicha, the common drab- 
coloured snake; kerlto paicha, large black ant; kointa paicha, 
mosquito: also paicha mooroo, a kind of dust or powder used for 
the purpose of poisoning water and food. The natives, also, 
applied the tenn to a Grecian tortoise belonging to me, which they 
thousfht to be venomous, and were afraid to touch. 

The perceptive faculties of the natives are well developed, and 
their senses of hearing and seeing acute, which enables them to 
note even the minute characteristics of natural and artificial 
object^, and to distinguish and imitate the sounds and move- 
ments of living beings Many of them possess a correct musical 
ear, and have leametl to play tunes on the violin, and to sing 
simple melodies. In the common operations of labour, and the 
use of tools and imi)lements, they are often but little behind the 
ordinai-y European workman. They have, however, seldom any 
stability of character, and hence it is no uncommon thing for a 



man, after having assumed semi-civilised habits, to revert after a 
time to his original condition of savage life. 

In their dispositions they display strong affection towards each 
other, — ^great fondness for childi*en and attachment to peisona 
who are kind to them. On the other hand, they indulge in 
every evil passion to excess, and, estimating human life as of low 
value, do not hesitate to sacrifice it for a trivial insult. As their 
women are obtained from other tribes, by theft or otherwise, 
female infants at birth are not infrequently put to death for the 
sake of more valuable boys, who are still being suckled, though 
three or four years old, or even more. A female infant just bom 
was thus about to be destroyed, foi* the benefit of a boy of about 
four years whom the mother was nourishing, while the father 
was standing by ready to commit the deed. Through the kind- 
ness of a lady to whom the circumstance became known, and our 
joint interference, this one life was saved, and the child was 
properly attended to by its mother, although she at first uiged the 
necessity of its death as strenuously as the father. 

During the progress towards adult age various ceremonies 
are practised, which are almost entirely confined to men and boys. 
About the age of puberty the boys are sprinkled with human 
blood, and this seems to be the first step towards an introduction 
into the ranks of manhood. I first witnessed this extraordinary 
ceremony by accidentally falling in with a group of men and 
boys, who were seated under a large gum tree in a very retired 
spot. On approaching them, I saw that two of the boys were 
bedaubed with a dark, shining substance, that I could not for a 
while distinguish; but, on looking round, I discovered another 
boy, resting upon his hands and feet, while an elderly man, witli 
his right arm bound round about the elbow by a cord of hair, and 
the median vein opened by a piece of broken bottle, was letting 
the blood flow over the boy's back, until not a particle of the 
surface was to be seen; he then made him sit up, and sprinkled 
his face, neck, and breast, with his hair also, in the same manner. 
The boy then retired to a short distance, and sat drying himself 
in the sim; and I left a fourth boy undergoing the same process. 


which was begun upon his legs. Whenever the blood ceased 
to flow, the man either pinched up the part land rubbed off the 
coagulum with a little earth, or the boy inserted the fragment 
of glass to open the wound afresh; not a muscle of the man's 
face moving. A stick was occasionally held in the hand, and 
squeezed, in order to encourage the flow of blood. The group 
scrupulously kept silence during the performance, and the 
women were left at a considerable distance. 

Another extraordinary ceremony, that of tattooing, is per- 
formed at the age of early manhood, and is frequently afterwards 
repeated. A number of men retire frt)m the general body, and 
from the women ; and the person who is to endure the operation 
is seized upon, apparently against his will, and only yields after 
some show of resistance. The instrument generally used is broken 
shell of the river-muscle, or a fragment of glass; the operation 
being repeated several times, at intervals, over the same spot, 
by which the cicatrix becomes considerably elevated above the 
surrounding skin, and this is most particularly the case over 
the breast-bone, where the scars form from one to a dozen trans- 
verae callous bands. Although the tattooing of the Australians 
possesses none of the symmetrical accuracy of that practised by 
the New Zealanders, and other imcivilised nations; yet the 
different tribes seem to be guided by something like rule, in 
certain variations of pattern easily perceivable, but difficult to 
describe. The parts generally selected for the operation are the 
shoulders, back and breast; seldom any part below the waist, 
and never the face. Tattooing is not exclusively confined to 
men; but that of the women is mostly limited to those bands 
over the breast-bone above described. After a man has under- 
gone the process, he secludes himself, for a season, from the 
society of women, and, in some measure, frx)m that of men also. 
A cord, made of the fur of the opossum, is tied around each arm, 
about one-third below the shoulder, and he is presented with two 
sticks, which are nothing more than common twigs, but worn 
smooth from constant use. These he carries about with him for 

some time after the period of his seclusion has terminated. 

N 2 


Circumcision is practised by the natives, but at no particular 
period, and never before adult age. It is doubtful if the custom 
be general or not. Observation induces me to conclude that it is 
a rite, from some unknown cause, frequently neglected. There 
are other minor ceremonies or customs, such as the perforation 
of the septum of the nose for the reception of a bone or reed, said 
to be a token of mourning, for the death of a mother or near 
relative; and the habit of wearing a broad fillet Qjx>und the 
brow, or a cord made of the hair of a dead relative. 

The funeral ceremony varies very much in the different tribes. 
That of the Adelaide tribe is of a complicated nature, the actual 
interment being preceded by several extraordinary rites. When 
a man dies his legs are bent up, so that the knees are brought 
nearly close to the chin, and the arms are folded together in a 
similar manner. This done, the body is enveloped in old clothing, 
tied with cords, or a piece of netting. A rude bier is prepared 
by fastening together ten or twelve branches, so as to form the 
radii of a circle; and, when the body is lifted upon this bier, the 
ground upon which the man died is dug up by his wives or 
women related to him, with their long sticks, occasionally 
assisted by the men. A little heap of earth is thus formed, 
supposed to contain the "wingko," or breath that has left the 
body, and which this digging is intended to set free. While 
this is being done, the bier is raised upon the shoulders of several 
men, each one taking a branch; and some facing one way othei-s 
another. They move slowly off from the spot, stopping at 
intervals, and performing a quick rotatory motion in one direc- 
tion, and, when they can do so no longer, in the opposite one. 
All this while a man stands under the centre of the bier, assisting 
to support it with his head; and, after each act of rotation, he 
addresses the deceased, asking him how and why he died, who 
killed him, &c. The group of men suiTounding the bier and its 
supporters are all armed with their spears and other weapons, 
and the women carry their long sticks and bags. Sometimes the 
bearers move forward as if by a consentaneous impulse, and, at 
others, one of the bystanders beckons to a spot to which the 


body is immediately borne, and the rotations are repeated. Even 
the presence of the feather of some rare bird upon the ground 
will attract their attention to that particular place, and the cir- 
cumvolutions will there be renewed with increased energy. If 
there happen to be large trees in the neighbourhood, they walk 
quickly up to one and then another, resting the bier against 
them; and, on every such occasion, the deceased is interrogated 
as before. Between every act of rotation, their march is more 
extended; so that they thus by degrees proceed farther from the 
place where the death occurred, imtil at last they walk off alto- 
gether to a distant locality, in which it is resolved to bury the 
body; the ceremony occasionally continuing more than one day. 
The place of burial being fixed upon, the earth or sand is 
loosened by the digging sticks, and thrown out by the hands ; 
the body is laid in the grave on one side, and the hole being 
filled up again, is usually covered with branches and bark 
of trees. 

The natives feel great repugnance at speaking of a person who 
ha8 lately died, and especially avoid mentioning his name. This 
is carried te so great an extent that persons, having the 
same name, are called by others temporarily given, or by any 
remaining names that may belong te them. The women, more 
esi>ecially, arc so strongly attached te relatives that they hesitate 
for a long time te part witli a dead body; and mothers are often 
known te carry about their persons dead infants, carefully 
wrapped up, for many months, while offensive decomposition 
must undoubtedly be going on. An elderly woman lost her 
brother. Tlie body was bound up in a large mass of clothes and 
other ittgs, and then covered with a foot or two of leaves and 
branches. On this the sister sat for many days continuously 
bemoaning her loss, resisting all attempts of the friends te pro- 
ceed to the burial, and partaking only of food that was kindly 
brought te her. I was thus prevented from carrying out my 
intention of witnessing the ceremony. 

Among the various superstitions of the natives, there is one 
that clearly indicates belief in a creative being. The following 


particulars respecting this principal personage in their mythology 
were obtained from various conversations with some of the 
oldest and most intelligent men. His name is ''Monaincherloo/^ 
and he is also styled "Teendo yerle," sunfather. He is supposed 
to have made the sun, moon, stars, men, and " plenty of things,** 
by which is probably meant all things. No one made or created 
him. He is above in the heavens, and did not ascend from the 
earth, but has always been above. The next being, in point of 
rank, is one called ''Monana," and of him is related a most 
curious tradition. "Konoocha," the native from whom I first 
received the information, stated that his "yerleeta," great grand- 
father or ancestor, handed down the following account of 
"Monana." "He was one day throwing large spears in various 
directions, east, west, north, south; when, having thrown one 
upwards, it did not return to the earth. He then threw another, 
and another, and so continued throwing; each spear sticking fiE»t 
to the former one until they reached the ground, and he climbed 
up by them to the sky, where he has ever since remained." He 
was evidently a mortal, who thus accomplished bis immortality. 
This tradition has been so often and so distinctly repeated to me, 
that I entertain not the slightest doubt of the correctness of it. 
The sun, "teendo," is said to be a female, having several sisters; 
all of whom shed a malevolent influence over mankind. One of 
the evils inflicted by this malignant being is a very painful 
cough, which is most likely the result of pulmonary disease, and, 
consequently, often fatal. When very ill, the sick person expecto- 
rates into the palm of his hand, and offers the sputa to the sun. If 
she is inclined to be propitiated, the patient is soon relieved; 
but, if the reverse, she says, "Noomte oomte, wirrilla palldne 
ningko," "Go away, quickly dead you." The moon, "karkara," 
is understood to be of the male sex; and, as far as I have ascer- 
tained, is a benevolent being to whom no particular influence is 
ascribed. Of the sun and moon it is said, "Tikkdn teendo, 
wandeen Site, karkara tatteen, boora pallon." The sun sits (or, 
is permanent), but rests or sleeps at night. The moon climbs, 
by-and-by is dead. It is thus believed there is literally a new 


moon every month. Other persons have learned from some of 
the natives that the moon is a female, of very light character, 
associating freely with men. Certain other beings, inhabitants 
of the earth, are dreaded by the natives, for the mischief 
they do. These they call " nokoona toorlanan," which seems to 
signify "nokoona, the destroyers," from "toorla," to fight or kill. 
At Encounter Bay their name is "Dlarbe," and the natives 
silently allude to them by holding up the fore and little fingers. 
They are accused of killing men, women, and children, by coming 
stealthily upon them in the dark. One is described as a very large 
black man, eight feet or more in height; and some of them were 
killed a long time ago by men of a distant country. One native 
most accurately explained to me the mode in which they destroy 
their victims; going through the process by imitative motions. 
He first spread his blanket upon the ground, and bade me 
suppose that a man was under it asleep. He then retired a few 
I)aces, laid himself down at full length, crept along upon his 
elbows with the least possible noise, and beckoned to me to reach 
him a little stick he had prc})ared to represent the weapon. 
When he had arrived close to the blanket, he very carefully lifted 
up the comer of it, and said "Here are the head and neck." 
The stick was slowly thurst into the earth (as if into the neck, 
above the collar-bone) in a slanting direction; and, when it had 
been made to penetrate about six or eight inches, was in the 
same manner withdrawn; the finger and thumb of the left hand 
being ready to close the imaginary wound. This was immediately 
done, and, after the orifice liad been kept closed by the pressure 
for a short time, a little earth was taken up and sprinkled upon 
the part, and the native said, "There is no blood, no wound to be 
seen, and the man is dead." This pantomimic representation 
was performed with great solemnity, and the explanations were 
uttered in a whisper. On the night of the 8th of March, 1838^ 
a colonist named Pegler was killed by two blacks, the wound 
being inflicted precisely in the manner above described, and 
there is no doubt that natives are sometimes deprived of life in 
the same way, and the murderers escape by acting upon the 


superstitious fears of the relatives. Another object of terror to 
the aborigines is called "koonyoo," who flies about at night, and 
makes a noise in the trees, but is never seen. This being 
descends to the earth in the dark, alights upon the body of a 
man while sleeping, and presses on his liver, causing him to 
suffer excessive pains, and sometimes producing death. This is 
nothing more than a supernatural cause to which is attributed 
the effect of excessive gorging, which the natives indulge in 
whenever they have the opportunity. 

It is remarkable that none of the tribes appear to be under the 
authority of a chief A certain amount of influence, however, is 
exercised by the old men, and by others possessing superior 
physical strength and courage, as also by those who practise 




OP Tin 





a as in father, a as in fate. 

at as I in fine, a u as a in falL 

t always short, as in robbfry; ce as in k«fn. 

00 as in moon, J as in bone. 

u as in but, j/u as ti in mute. 

nfj as ia rin'j ; a second y always hard, as in go. 

All tinal vowels arc sounded short. 

U'jt ooniinencing a wonl or syllable, may be sounded by uttering ing and 
gni<lually dropping the voweL 





Ai chai 

Ai chaii^ko 

Ai chakkano ... 

Ai cherlo 

Ai ohcmeendo 

Ai chiK> 

Ai choonga . . . 


Akala kala ... 


Ark(K>ndc kouc 

Atpdnc, atp;iude 

where ? 

we two (dual). 

wc (plural). 

I (anix only). 

uiy mother. 

my mother's. 

my flidter. 

my father. 

to Iw tire<l. 

I an<l my. 

my brotner. 

wlLit ? 

KchI- breasted parra- 

aj«hamed or repent* 

a jacket, 
whose ? 
M'hat ? 

very many, plenty, 
tu driuk water by 

the hands, 
to set (as the sun. ) 

eBalte-balte ... 

Birre wcrte 

Birrike birrike 



BokiSlyeloo . . . 


Bokka yoko ... 








Boora boora ... 


Boorka mayoo 

Boorkoo boorkoo 

parrakeet (melopdt- 

a youn(^ ffirL 

bird allied to cuckoo. 

short-winged grass- 

green peas. 

to dive. 



bark of trees. 

l)ark canoe. 

to saw or oat. 

a shirt. 

to swim. 

to shave. 


blue, dark, cloudy. 

to come. 



old white-haired 

a mouse. 



Boorl&ne, boor- 

Boota boota ... 

Boot&ne, boor- 



BukkamAne ... 




eCherliny^re ... 

Eechungga ... 

eErkdle, erkulle 






«Inko or yinko 





to be full or satisfied. 

white-haired, hoary, 
a bottle - shaped 

to bum (v. 








Kanno aiya 





a scab. 

a knife. 

to skin or pare. 

to tattoo, to cut. 




a nephew. 

common fly. 



near, at a short dis- 


a thorn. 

thumb, great toe. 


a shark. 

great grandfather, 


the wrist. 

mast of a vessel. 

rou^h to the touch. 

a rail (bird). 

his or her. 


native dog. 

questions to a dead 

large spear with a 
reed end for the 



waistbelt of human 

scincus (reptile). 

the heart. 

a myrtaceous shrub. 

bring thou. 

they two. 

to ward off a blow. 

agama (reptile). 

green wingless grass- 

mallow (plant). 



large three- toed 




the moon. 




Karkoo mumgo 
eKamkon .„ 
eKarrakarre ... 

Katpaatpa ... 

Kattungge ... 




Kerlta batt&ne 




fKertumbe .«. 

Kinne yeene ... 



Kodne o ya ... 


Kointa paicha 


Koka kok61to 



eKoker koker ... 

Kokka atpdne 
or watpdne 


eKoltdn, kolta... 



Kolto oltonye 

Koma, komante 

eMayoo kombo 



unio (a river bivalve 

native red ochre, 
oasuarina (sheoak). 
cone of caaaarina. 
to laugh, 

small birda (?). 

large shrike (bird), 

natives' common bag 
my brother, 
fish like a bream, 
kestrel hawk, 
laughine jackass, 

palm of the hand, 
to call out. 

large black ant. 
a forest, 
the shoulder, 
upper arm. 

to bake, 
native crow, 
whito ant. 
a species of gryllus. 
common net bag. 
to call out. 

five (two two one), 
kangaroo rat. 
to scratoh. 
to dig. 
to cry. 

to scratoh the skin. 
three (two one), 
four (two two). 
to dive. 

painful or sore. 

a cap. 

to dig. 

a cough. 

a painful oough. 

an ant. 


one day or son, to* 

the rainbow, 
the outor or man 

the inner or woman 

to fisht. 
a whale, also its 




Kondo werpo 

or wertpo 
Kdn^iraen .. 

the breastbone. 

come here, 
to brinff forth, 
to smeU iNidly. 
river crayflih. 
blossom of gam 

rKunyokOnyo... enough, enough 

(interj. ) 


Koocho dnde . 

f KooU, koolar 




a bivalve shell (?). 



to scrape. 

hair, scalp. 


cap or hat. 

rKoolinyerAnggo caps or hats (pluraL) 



black swan. 

an imaginary being. 

leaf insect (phyl- 

animals females 

must not eat. 

Pooroo koon- flesh of do., do. 

Kootpatenangga to joke, ioking. 








Koore koore . 



large grab (lx)mbyx) 
in gum trees. 


white g\im tree. 

native magpie 

mullet (tish). 

verj' near. 

a corrolwrj*. 

a river. 

a young emu. 

a stone. 

to swallow. 

... louse (peiliculus hu- 

Koorlootummc univalve shell (me* 

Koorlto ... short. 

Kooroo . . . pot or pannikin. 

^Koorta koue ... youn^ kangaroo. 
Koorta winyoo the httle tiuger. 
Koortee ... pittosporum pott 

Koortukka ... a young kangaroo. 
( Koorunlumbo largo grey owl. 
Kootpe ... small spear of two 

pieced for the 

Kooya, kooyc, Ash in general 

Kooya peere ... fish hook. 
Kooya yam ... fishing line. 
Koppe ... tobacco. 

Koppeen ... to vomit. 


Kopoola koue 
Korla pinde ... 

Korra, kdrrftra 

Korre berte . . . 
Korre korre ... 


Kou wou, 
wou wa 

salt water, all sapid 

the sea. 
the hollow before 

the elbow, 
a man. 
rodgum tree, 
far off, from afar, 
a male emu. 
longicorn beetle, 
get out of the way 

the crown of the 

the rainbow, 
affain, repetition, 
come here, 
north, northwards, 

kou cousin. 

Kurlto altnkko 

^Kurra winda... 

Kurre kurreen 

fKurriny^ri ... 


Kutta, kutt41a 


Kutteendo ... 

eLArunff lAwa ... 


fLumbangge ... 


thigh (leg of mut- 



pardalotus (small 



meliphaga, brown- 


thigh or entire leg. 

to rise from a seat, 
to fly. 



blood, also the pulse. 

women's digging- 

to bring, fetch, or 

bring thou. 

bird allied to crow. 

hair of the head. 

there, in that place. 

sit you there. 

sit, my brother. 

to sit. 

nnio (river bivalve 

to be afraid. 

ye two. 

a year, or hot 

kangaroo skin. 




<«Maerle ... plenty. 

eMaingker . . . red colour. 
Malloorta ... opossum, white taiL 
Mdltyoo ... mesembryanthe- 

«M4me ... opossum. 

Mime, mame, good. 

M4nemAne ... kestrel hawk. 
Mangke, to laugh. 

MankOn, man- to gather, pluck, or 

konde grasp. 

Mankor&ne, to clasp the hands, 
'SManna mukke clouds. 
Mante ... not (negation). 

Manwerta . . nape of the neck. 
Mire ... east, eastwards. 

€Mark&re ... moon, month. 

Marrdne ... to pour out. 
^Marranno, mar- sister, my sister ! 

eMarrungka ... cold. 
^Marrungunne native crow. 
MAta ... the knee. 

Mauko ... cloud. 

Maunka ... scars made on the 

May, may a ... food, not flesh. 
Mayeecha ... hungry. 
Maymumga . . . greedy of f ood- 
Mayoo,mayoola, man (sing., dual, 

mayoona plural). 

Meeboorle ... a nver fish (trout). 
Meeboote ... eyelid. 
Meekoue ... tears (water of the 

Meelleende ... to pinch up the skin. 
^Meeminne ... woman, female kan- 
Meena,meenoolaeye (sing., dual, 

meenoona plural). 

Meenoo ... wattle acacia and 

its gum. 
Meeroo ... sleep. 

«Meeyunakitte a book. 
Meeungge ... eyebrows. 
Mengka ... edible pod of fruit(?). 

Memde .. beating of skins by 

women at corro- 
Mempe ... bronze- wing pigeon. 

Metteeka ... a serpent. 
Michdn (murto to smell (v. a.) 
eMichoo-michoo small long-eared bat. 

Midla weapon for throwing 


MiUe the elbow. 

M inde net for provisions. 

Mindowerta ... umbilicus. 

Mingfi[a ... painfuL 

Mingka ... seeds of wattle. 

Mingpe ... flint. 

eMinneminn&che black cockatoo. 
Minnokoora ... roots of reeda. 
Minnor^e, min- to slip or be slippery, 
eMirre pulta hail, hailfltorm. 
Mirro, meero . . . yawning, sleepiness. 
Mocherta(Peen- shirt (Rngliah 
de mocherta) shirt). 

Moka an egg. 

Mokandareene to forget, to be igno- 
rant of. 
Mokerta . . . crown of the head. 
Mokertana ... hat or cap. 
Mokoota ... a hill. 
Molerta ... a stick of any kind. 
Monaincherlo name of a creator. 
Mon^a ... a man who climbed 

up to the sky. 
eMonarke ... whiskers. 
eMonoombe ... chin. 
Mooinmo ... more(adj.andadv.). 
Mookatta ... round piece of bark 

to practise spear- 


Moola nose. 

Moola yadla . . . hole in the septum 

of the nose for 
reed or bone. 
Moola yappa ... nostril (nose hole). 
Moolde ... tobacco pipe. 

Moolerta ... bone or reed for the 

nose, and for spin- 
eMoolkure ... to patter as rain does. 

Moolleene ... to smell (v. a.) 
rMooloowerta . . . umbilicus. 
cMoolungwerla hot, or very liot, 
eMoona, moon- lip, lips (plural). 

Moono . . . dead body. 

Moonoombe ... chin. 
Moonto ... belly. 

Moontoongga a miscarriage. 

Moorka, moor- to cry or weep . 
kan, moorka lie, 
Moorla bokka a shield of bark. 
cMoorlde, moolde smoke. 
Mooroo ... (lust. 
Mooroo mooroo Hour and bread. 
Mootan, moo- to eat. 
cMootoo ramboo. to drink, 
Mooyominte scrobiculus cordis. 
Morainya ... a mother who has 

lost a child. 






Malta werpo 



Manga ainko 

fMorokkon, mo- to gather, 
Moreen ... to ran. 
Mooreen ... to swim. 
MakJkane, mok- to dance in corro- 

kine ' bery. 

Mokke ... glass, flint, hard 

Maldaootwerta beard, on chin. 
Malda wappoo- whiskers, on cheeks. 

rMallAla ... little brother or 

Malldn,malliinano, not, none. 
Mall&tra ... never mind, no 

to die. 
beard and whiskers, 

by some, 

female ema. 
cheek or jaw bone, 
the knee, 
a hoase or hat. 
fillet for the head, 
a spinning stick, 
MttDgk* mung. mukB iwored on • 

ke skm. 

Mangke mang- to score a skin, 

a girl. 

the belly. 

a very full stomach. 


to pant, as a dog. 

to be cold, to shiver. 

grcetly of foocL 


the hand. 

to be spilt, to boil 

palm of the hand, 
the thumb, 
the forefinger. 
Mummgii yoo freshwater tortoise 
Murto ... smell, or scent. 

Murtpoona ... a murderer, to mar- 

Naidne, naii&ne, to sew. 
naiyeenc ... 

a cloud, 
vou (plural). 
m»w many? 
a monkey, 
your mother. 


a large animal, kan- 
garoo, horse, bol- 
u>ck, fto. 


TouAra munto 

Munyarftne ... 
Manyareen ... 
Mumffoorta ... 
MumktSche ... 
Murra ■ . 

Murrarftne ... 

Murra tuugka 
Murra angkc 
Murray eric 

f Naiko 




Kantec ante... 


Nanto boorka 

Narkone, nar- 

eNarkoorftme a book. 
eNeengan, neen- two. 

Ninna, ninno 
Noamaiche ... 

an old hoary mal» 


to drink. 



Nooke weer- 


Noomte oomte 




Nuttaberre ... 

Ngabaitya ... 

Nsadle, ngad- 

Ngaltaitye ... 



Kgaroolta ... 





Xgerkarroo ... 

Ngerlkotin ... 

Ng^mawe . . . 

Ngerpane ... 



fillet for the head. 

yon two. 

the month. 

bronze pigeon, yel> 
low legs. 

the montL 

yoo, your. 

yoa, thoa. 

to yoa (dative ca8e.y 

yoa (plaraL ) 

to know, remember. 

an evil being; also, 
a small wingless- 

yonr father (?) my. 

the sun. 

to blow the nose. 


the chin. 

be off! go away! 

a man or evil bein^ 

who usee poison* 

ous charms, 
how many? 

no more ! enough ! 
to l>oiL 

river crayfish. 



an unmarried man. 

to build. 

a centipede. 

cord or rope. 


breast (woman*s> 

quill, feather, 
to weep, 
we two. 
to bite, 
you (plaraL) 
tn sink, 
blue moontain*'par- 




NgOltingga ... 

Ngomoonta ... 

Ngoor^de ... 




Ngooroo werpo 



Ngooya wap- 

Ngoreeka . . . 
eNgowerre . . . 
eNgrakalta ... 

^Ngreekoole ... 


Olte, ngOlte... 



Onya waieeta 






Paicha mooroo 

Paichc bOlte 

Painingga . . . 
Painya yainya 



Kaclle paiaue 

Meeno paianc 


Pdlte palte ... 
Palteengga mak * 


Panda werle 
Panmeende ... 
Panneende, pan- 

last night. 

acacia deoipiens. 

to spin. 

male kangaroo. 

to throw BtickB at 

birds in trees. 
the back, 
the backbone, 

marks on the skin 

like small-pox. 
wattle blossom. 
niece,brother*s child, 
nephew (?) do. 
collar bone, 

acacia decipiens. 
yellow asphodel, 
to laugh. 

mother of animals, 


serpent, any bitins 

or stiiiginganimal. 
poison dust, used to 

an old woman, 


some time since, 
here and there, dis- 

fat, whale blubber, 

honey of the grass 

to bite or eat. 
to eat dog. 
to eat gum. 
to search for. 


melopsittacus (bird), 
noise of a corrobery. 

hook for extracting 

a mud hut. 
to dive, 

to run or go away. 

Panyape ... brother, little bro> 

Paraipa ... grasshopper. 
Parangota ... potata 
rPareende, pa- to swim, 



to kindle a ^19, 

every, aU. 

swamp gum tree. 

south, southerly. 

to thrust into the 

to stick fast^ er be 

Patte patteene to put in ironi^ to 

little finger, little 


eyebrows (pin), 
mallow (a shrub). 
pomum Adami 
eyebrow (sing.) 
eyes (plu.) 
eye (sing.) 
opossum, black tail, 
west, Knglish, fo- 

Peendetooboora English drone bee 
Peend^^ka, peen- island, Kangaroo Is- 
clingga laud, to &e west. 

Poendingarre English rope, 

peende uearre 
Peendemochcrta English shirt. 
Peenggande ... to turn or fold back 

clothes, &C. 
Peenjiine ... to write. 
Peenjanto ... write thou. 
Peere, murrap, nails, finger, toe. 
ePectercr . . . eyelids. 

ePeetlie, peetha lungs of animals. 
Pdmane ... to spear. 
Weetyu p<S- to sew. 





Pdta, pata 



Patte inde 

Paule, paurle 


«Peechangge ... 




cPeelangge ... 





fur and feathers. 

to break, beat 

beating of sticks in 

limestone, boy's W^' 
of skin. 

weapon for throwing 

Perfc, pcrringga river, locality of ri- 
Perroo ... flesh. 

Pemta meella 




wattle blossom, 
finger nails, 
to erect, to bnild or 

Pinggareende lightnino, it ligh**-**"? 
Pingge ... agrasssnirt. 

Pin^e ... a poisonous charm. 

Pin^ane, koue to charm, to poison 

pmjane water. 

Pinjetta ... sugar and other 

^Pirrokknn .. to nse. 
<P6erle ... little, also little fin- 

Pokoole ... mantis (insect). 
Polaiche ... two, repeated, four. 
rPolakerle ... your father. 

PoUko . . . they two. 

<P5mbe ... an egg. 

Pondo ondo . . . large dragon fly. 
^Pongarre ... shade, reflection in 

Pdnggdne ... to bleed, wound, 

Poo^yoo, pooSya smoke. 
Pooltoo^ro ... tirst-bom. 
^Poolumbeangge oar, ears. 
Poona,konepoo- a well. 

Poonkoolde ... kangaroo tooth in 

the midla. 
<Poontdbore ... a gun. 
PoontOne, poon* to blow with the 

to oude mouth. 

Poore ... sandstone for soor- 

inff skins 
«Poorke ... a hole, used for a 

fPoorle a star. 

<'Poorpoorta ... a sparrowhawk. 

Poortoowa ... to open the door. 
fPoomoona ... to yawn. 
^'Pootparroo ... a kingfisher. 
Popalto ... triH} (general term). 
Porooche pains m the limbs. 

Poroona ... alive, 
rlhilterre ... hail. 
<INiugdle ... large male kanffaroo. 
^Piirragay ... woo<l, firewooa. 
f Kakka bokka dea<l. 
^IlakkAna ... a shark. 
elUmang ... country at Encoun- 
ter Bay. 
fRiwe ... hungry. 

^Keerwe, ruwe earth. 
^lUnckare ... white. 
Tailpa ... the mouth. 

Taicnoo ... hungry. 
Taichoo koue thirsty. 
Tainmoonda loranUius of gam- 
Taitya ... female emo. 

T4ka ... male kangaroo. 

Tam ... a sandy beech. 

Tameete, tamit- moustache, hair on 

te both lips. 

Tameeno ... upper lip. 
Tamoondee ... lower lip. 
eTammihideewiu to fire a gun. 
TampAnde ... to be wary, or intel- 
Tando ... abas. 

Tandoongga in a oa^. 
Tandotitte ... native lilao(Harden- 

Tangyftle ... to kmt or make a 

Tappa a path. 

Tajmine, tap- to kiss. 

Tappo ... common fly. 

eTappoone terrar to yawn. 
TarkailyCloo to-morrow. 
TirkAre . . . some time to come, 

Tarkun ... to eat. 
fTarlallo ... no more of anything 
eTarrailge ... the midla (tmlgo, 

Tarralye . . . split or sawn wood. 
Tarrarke ... to yawn. 
eTarte ... brother, little bro- 

Tattark&ne ... to yawn. 
eTattawe yoor- to yawn, to open the 
loone mouth wide. 

Tatteen ... to climb. 
Tatt<)ne ... to kick, as a horse. 
TeeAla, teedna teeth, dual & pluraL 
Teedle . . . hungry. 

eTeeeer . . lock or curl of hair. 

Teeldna, talan- the tongue. 

ye, etallangga 
Teelto ... native cherry (exo- 

^TeendAne . . . wreck of a ship. 
fTeende inde... bee-eater Tmerops). 
Teendo . . . the sun, also a day. 
Teendoatpdnor sunset, or the son 

atpdnde is set 

TeendOla, teen- to-morrow. 

Teendo tikkin the sun tUs, mid- 

Tou&rateendo day. 
Teendo tokoo- morning, soon after 

cha sunrise. 

Teendo, teendo- river univalve 

matto (lymneus). 

Teeneenya, teen- rib, ribs (plural), 
eeny4na, teen- ribs (dual), 
Teenjo a leaf. 

eTeepeecha, tip- a quail, 



eTeerkoore ... melopsittacus 

eTeethe ... amadina mficanda 

Teewo, teewoo white cockatoo. 
eTeewoore woora pink-breasted cock- 
Teeyappe (pee- chewed fibre (of 

charra) mallow). 

Teeydte ... yes (general affirma- 
Telleelya ... acacia saligna. 
Terka ... kangaroo. 

Terma ... viminalia (tree). 

tfTemar ... hand. 
eTeme ... forefinger. 

Temta ... to lie down, to sleep. 
Terraterra (ter- brother. 

eTerrar, teerar teeth. 
Terroo ... father. 

eTertongge ... knee. 
Tikkin ... to sit. 
Tikkangaie ... shall, or may I sit? 
Tikke ... the armpit. 

Tindoerta ... small of the leg, 

eXinjella ... a quail, three-toed. 
Tiima, tinnc the foot. 
Tinna boolta the instep. 
Tinna tungka the sole of the foot. 
Tinna ungge, great toe. 
tinna yerle 
eTinne pulta . . . shoes. 
eTinne undiiia trousers. 
Tinne worro... the heeL 
Tinninye . . . iron. 
Tinninye werle an iron store. 
Tinydra ... a boy. 
Tinye, tinnge elbow. 
cTippa doua . . . cloud. 
eTippun temar to wash hands. 
cTippun ... to fetch or carry. 
eTirrantun ... to set or put down. 
Tirreetpa ... a lark. 
Toboora . . . large green flesh-fly. 
Token . . . excrement. 

Toltame . . . red. 
Toltameilla . . . red shirt. 
TOngke, tOngko cloth, clothing, sails 

of shiD. 
Tonske werle a tent (cloth house). 
Tonko ... a venomous serpent. 

Tooka . . . mud. 

Tooka yerta . . swampy land. 
Tookoocha ... little (nephew or 

niece) . 
Tookoocha yokoaboat (little ship). 
eTooIa umpire round grass mat. 
eTooltar ... a star. 
Toolyoo ... platycercus (parra- 


eToombe ... alive. 
Toomboola ... a gadfiy. 
eToomboolun. . . very sick. 
eToonar . . . hand (? palm ). 

eToone, toonang- sole and soles of the 

ga feet 

eToon^ oongge handkerchief. 
eToonmyerangge shoes. 
Toonkoorta ... Swainsonia (shmb). 
Toonoo paicha common drab colour 

Toonyoo ... a widow. 
Toopoora ... lizard (black ban- 
Toora ... shadow and reflec- 

Tooraakko ok- a looking glass. 

cToore ... month. 

Toorla ... to fight, to kill. 

Toorla yirra. . . a lamellicom beetle. 
eToorlire ... a bream (fish). 
Toorloo ... a swift or swallow. 
Toorloonj&roo water beetle (gyri- 

Tooma ... great toe. 
eToorngoo ... Urae slate-coloor 

Toorte ... the fore arm. 

Toorteanoola a coat or its sleeves. 
Toota ... grass. 

Tootoomdo . . . the right hand. 
eTootta ... red-breast (pe- 

<fTorre ... light (sunbeams). 

eToudnda . . . shoveller duck. 
Toudno ... to push or knock. 
Touara ... large, great, very. 

Touaraue ... to quarrel. 
eTouare . . . grass bag. 

Touata . . . plenty. 

eTouweete ... scoring of skins. 
Towinna ... long. 
Trakeon ... to saw or cut. 
Tukkftre, tukka- to sing. 

Tukkandc ... to speak. 

Wirrilla tuk- to speak fast or 
kandc chatter. 

Tummamo . . . grandmotlier. 
Tummo ... K^eat niece. 
Tungpullaroo hiccup. 
Tungka ... the liver. 
cUlte ... calf of the leg. 

Umba, yung- edible root (micros- 

umba eris). 

Ummaiche . . . wife. 
Umme ... woman's breast. 

Ummingarroo woman's milk. 
Unddn, unddne sick, ill. 

Ungge ... mesembryanthemam 

«Ungkdre . . . female kangaroo. 



• • ■ 

Ungke, ungkee- 

Unda mannoo 
Unta mannoo 

^Unna woolle 

Wd, w&nte ... 


Wadna, wadde 

Waianaen . . . 


Wirrilla waia- 






Munto wangdn 

rWantando ... 

fWappcene ... 



Warra woeta 



WaiToonde, war< 


WaiToo kadlo 






Woelt<), peerc- 


Weerap[>o . . . 


Weerkiine . . . 
Weerkitte . . . 
Wocroopa . . . 

Wcetkara . . . 


f Weewilte . . . 

female animal, alio 

the wriat. 


wild dog. 


to creep stealthily. 

where (?) 

wood in general 

stick for climbing 
and fighting. 

to be afraid. 

to tarn round. 

to whirl round ra- 


a bush or small tree. 


to lie do'v^ii or rest. 

to speak. 

to speak falsely. 

to speak truly. 

a river fish. 

Do not do that, de- 

To do (very gener- 
ally used). 

Do not that. 

a woman. 


the act of speaking. 



abroad, away. 

to draw along or 


native dog. 


a distant place. 

soft, yielding. 


to run away. 

a pipe or tube. 

native eagle. 

white owl. 
opossum. Hying (po- 

to wipe, to wash, 
scoriuff on skins, 
crvsted parrakeet 
pepi>ermint gum. 
to whistle, 
feathers worn over 

the head fillet 
nose -bone, needle, 

kaugan>o*s fibula, 
boy (?), proper name, 
an armlet of oords. 

WerkAne, wer- 

Werlo, werle 


Werlingga ... 


eWerlte, werlta 

WerltAte ... 

Werltoarre ... 




Werpoo, wertpo 


Wingko patter- 



Wirrilla ... 
Wirroone, wir- 

roonde, wir- 

Withereen . . . 
Wokkan, m'ok< 

kana, wok- 

eWAkkare ... 
eWokkareen ... 


Wokwok, wok- 

ko wokka 
rWooro, wore 

to wash. 

house, boose hole, 

also bird's nest 
at or in a house, 
the back of a house, 
hot, also firm, hard, 
a hot season, used 

for a year, 
nape of the neck, 
la^pe parrakeet (pla- 

black and white 


to fall down (par- 

myzomela nigra 

a bone for stabbing, 
lar;^ spear of one 

tolike, love, wish for, 
the breath, 
the place on which 

a man dies, which 

receives his 

to breathe forcibly. 

a fishing net 
native cockroach, 
thread, native and 

to go. 
knobbed stick for 

fighting and 

qnickly, make haste! 
to saw or cut 

to be tired, fatigue<l. 
wicked, not g<Md. 

a shield. 

to be stupid, not 


do you not under- 

a spider. 

a younff child or 

native bustard. 

an orphan. 



an opossum. 

the gullet 

white gum, largo 




«Wootooiia ... to shine. 
eWootoona torre the light Bhines in. 
Woppe eene, to fear. 

Wopne eende 
Wormbb&te . . . large grab in gums. 
Wotpdne ... to Bit on horseback. 
Won we ... female kangaroo, 

also sheep. 
Wumma . . . undulating plains. 
Wanna wanna rotatory motion at 

a funeral. 
Wurra mango the ankle. 
Wurta toorte the upper arm. 
6Yai a we ... I am hungry. 
eYailanne ... woven grass bag. 
«Yailkai moornar opossum skin. 
<Y4ka, yakkAno, sister, 
Yaltarane ... to scold or blame. 
eY&mSle, ydm&lai one. 
«Yamalaiche- one day, to-day. 

«Yfipe ... split or sawn wood. 

Yappa, appa a hole. 
YappoonaOna to put into a hole. 
«Yamde a spear. 

Yarpa, yarpar lire, small firewood. 
Yarrar^e ... to split wood, as in 

Yattdte ... a knife. 
Yellakurra ... just now, lately. 
Yellamoka . . . calf of the leg. 
YellAra . . . now, this day. 
Yeltande ... to mistake. 
Yeltukka . . . new. 
Yellukka ... yesterday. 
Yerdloiine, to push or force 

Yerdlodnde along. 
Yerko, yeerko the shm of the leg. 
rYerkoina, yer- trouser. 
Yerkoanoola trousers, duaL 
Yerle, murra forefinger. 

Yerle father, male of ani- 

Yerlccta ... greatgrandfather, or 

Yerlinna . . . husband. 
Yerloo, yerlo a lake or sea. 
Yemayema . . . undulating ground. 
Yerrjibbola ... four. 
Yerroo ... whirlwind. 

Yerta ... ground, earth, 


Yerta mayoo one's ooantrjrmim. 
Yerta ummaiche one'B coon tr y w onum 
Yerta ngatpande to bury in the 

Yettar&ne ... to break (a Ixme), 

(werpo) fracture. 

Ylbblte ... a child without a 

Yitpe ... Bonl or spizit^ 

Yinko ... three- toed qoafl. 

Yoko, tou&ra a ship, a large ahip* 

Yokungga ... in a ship. 
Yolte ... a shag (burd)- 

Yombo ... a porpoise. 
eYongeenaioo where go yon? 
Yoonga, yongo brother. 
Yoong-Ara, wife. 

Yoongata ... sister. 
Yoongoora... crested pigeon. 
eYoomde ... a feather, 
Yoowdne ... to stand, watch, or 

Yoowongke ... to grow firm or stiff 

as the beard. 
Yorte ... rain. 

Yuka, yuka hair, cut or cropped 

weelya hair. 

Yuka weeltitte scissorsChaircatters) 
Yukka, yakka not, general nega- 
Yfllte . . . strinffy-bark gam. 

Yuinbcena ... a wiaower. 
YunciUe, yuu- yonder. 

Yungguu ... to give. 
Yure, yure ilia, an ear, two ears ; 

yurilla hence — 

Yure ilia Mount Lofty. 

Yure ana ... neckerchief. 
eYurengarre, neck cord or rope. 

Yurekaichane to hear. 
Yureteena . . deaf. 
Yureeuila ... opossum or other 

Yuringga ... hearing. 
Yuriuiia, yurid- left hand. 

Yurloo ... forehead. 

Yurne ... neck. 

Yfirueana ... neckerchief. 



Boora wongoarto 

Mikka 'wummunffga 

Pootpa, pootp6bMre 

Pootpou weera and weenmgga ... 


Korra weera, yerta and peire ... 





Korra weenmgga 

Peelta werlingga 

Korra oondongga ... 

Moole yerke perre 

Kaleeya, kaleteeya 

Yure and yureilla 

Yerta bOlmngsa 

Vngke perre, Ungke perringga . . . 

XV %>* lU V ••• ••• ••• ••• 


Willa willungga 

Kurra mooroo 


Kurra e wur re 


Koue auldinira 

M<K>rt. perringga 

Limboanora, limboanungga 

Moo oola ... 

Moogoora (by a Murray man) ... 

Yalla doola 




Pat|)amo, Patpungga 




• • • • • • I 

• • • • • • I 


• • • I 

• • • • 

Weera diatricts north of Adelaide. 

Adelaide, and the Torrena. 

\' Diatricts of the Adelaide tribe. 

Hindmarsh town. 

The Gawler river. 


Land adjacent and Monnt Lofty. 

Port Adelaide. 

Field's River, Onkaparinga. 


. I llodnev's country, from Onkapannga to 

. I Willunga, and south of it. 

• • • I 

• m • J 


Deception Bay. 

Upper vale of the Hindmarsh. 

Lower part of Hindmarsh valley. 

I Inman river. 

Hindmarsh river. 

A beautiful hill, Hindmarsh valley. 



Rapid Bay. 

Site of Blenkinson's Hshery, Encounter 

Site of S. A. Company's fishery, En- 
counter Bay. 

> Murray river, Goolwa. 
Parningka |)c*m) (Onkaparinga man) ... ) 
Pamingka ungka (vulgo Parraiigocka) Land near the Goolwa. 

if^"fl'"P"i^* 1 Lan<l between Encounter Bay and lake. 

uwr.l',w ? In the Weer» dirtricU. 

\\certo<)t|)c ... ... ... ... \ 

Yo<»rlooarra (Murray man) 
(>o<)lawarra koorc (E. B. man) 


Kuttiimeri) ... 
Kcrtamen> . . 
.MttJiio K. 
K<K»yeeta K. 
Tanmarten) K. 
Kcin(>ocha ... 
KiKuioocha. . 

• j First ioii j *^*"|X^°** ''*"^' ** '^'"* 

James of Pootpa. 
. Richanl of Punggara. 

Second son. 

Third son. 




Monaicha wonweetpeena K. 
Warreecha ... 
Pitpa witpeena W. 

Tippa W 

Marroocha... ... ... 

Konnakaia marroocha ... 

Korrou weetpeena M. 

JM awaiwc ... «•• ... 


y erre wurre W 

jv.app4M) *■. ... ••• 

L&me raikongga 

Linde sero ... 

Meelaicha ... 


Parroo paicha 

Polla volloo 


Tappalllwe palbe 




t • • • • > 






Captain Jack. 

Fourth son — Peter's son. 

Old Tommy. 

William of Tandamyimgga. 
Son of O. P. J.'s Maria. 

Tom of Weerawulla. 
Charley of Weerungga. 

\' All of Encounter Bay. 



K. Werke barro ... 



Warrearto, Warrarto 

First daughter. 

King John's third wife. 

Second daughter. 

Old Tommy's wife. 

Mary of Tandamyungga. 

Mary of Wamandoola. 

King John's wife Maria, Koa Warrartow 

Do. do. Jane. 

Kaurna ..« 
Meeyiima ... 


Encounter Bay Bob's. 
Onkapariuga Jack's. 

Yerle, aicherle (aichoo yerle) 
eNongai ... ... ... 

Aie, aichaie (aichoo aie) 


« Keldno, keldnoe 

Yoong dta, unnata 
fMarrfino, marrdnoe 
eYdka, ydkdno 









Kou wou, kou wou wa ... 

Tummo ... 



Yoong dra, yung dra ... 

Pooltoo Cro 


... Father, my father. 

... Father. 

... Mother, my mother. 

. . . Mother. 

... Brother. 

... Brother, my brother. 

... Sister. 

... Sister, my sister. 

. . . Sister. 

. . . Grandmother. 

... Grandmother. 

... Grandson. 

. . . Uncle (mother's brother). 

. . . Aunt. 

. . . Aunt. 

... Nephew. 

... Niece (sister's daughter). 

. . . Cousin. 

Grand niece (sister's son's daughter). 

... Husband (man). 

... Wife (woman). 

... Wife. 

. . . First-bom child. 



Adle winneen, wa winneen? — Where go you? 

Aichoo mante pai yareene — I searched in vain (did not find). 

Aichoo ninnato yoonggonde — I gave to you. 

Aincha watte koma ommaiche? — What name, that woman? 

Anna mayoo bnkkabikkate yurgune? — What man knife gave? 

WammiLno mankone— From the ground picked (it) up. 

Burkonna mayoo wokkareen — ^The white man was stupid. 

Ningko tou&ra mokerta mAne— You very head good, Le,, you understand. 

Ningko wirrilla winneento koue kutteen — You quickly go water fetch. 

Mamdo mooto nguke (E.B.) — You go fetch water (imperative.) 

Tarkailyeloo aichoo kotinne wirro ota— To-morrow I again will saw (wood.) 

Tuma pftenpeena (£.R); MulUn yungOn (Ad.) — Do not give. 

Wa mayoo w«ndeene winsko wappeen — ^Where (the dead) man rested, they do 
the winkgo, i.e., they dig the ground for the escape of the breath. 

Oorloonjaenta peere eene ninna wertpo poonffe — The words used in asking the 
dead man by whom and how he was killed. 

Monaincherlo wappeene teendo, &c. — M. made sun, &c. 

Teendo yerlo mayoo — The sun-father man. 

Moono yerta ngatpdnde, yitoe, tookoocha kurra winneen — The body sits (is buried) 
in the ground ; the little soul above goes. 

Aichoo ngaicherle erleeta wangan My father's neat-grandfather (or 
"Mon^ma ari&che kaia pemane, ea pe- ancestor) said — "Monana threw many 
miine, ea pemiine, boora kaia kurra spears, here threw, here threw, by and by 

IMimdne, kaia kurra yewdne, kotinne a spear upwards threw, the spear above 
Laia yewdne, kotinne kaia vew^ne, stuck fast, again spear stuck fast, again 
l>oora yerta yewane ; Monana Kaia tat- spear stuck fast, by and by in the ground 
tccne kurra winneen. " stuck fast ; Monana (by the) spears 

climbed, above went." This statement 
is in the words of Monaicha wonweet- 
peena konoocha, or '* Captain Jack. '* 



or TIIB 


OP Till 



BY 11. E. A. MEYER 


The Aborigines of different parts of the province are distin- 
guished by differences of language, customs, manners, and tradi- 
tions. Thus there appears to be no similarity between the 
Adelaide and Encounter Bay language, and the same may be 
said of their manners, habits, and traditions. In what follows, 
therefore, I am only to be understood as speaking of the manners, 
customs, traditions, &c., of the natives of Encoimter Bay and the 
lower banks of the Murray. These people, who speak one 
language with slight variation of dialect, are divided into 
different tribes, as Raminjerar, Lampinjerar, Karkarinjerar, 
Pankinjerar, &c., and these tribes consider themselves as large 
families, and are more or less connected with each other by 
marriage. Each tribe derives its name from the district to 
which it belongs, and which they claim as their own property, 
as Ramong, the district belonging to the Raminjerar, the affix 
injeri (plural injerar) having the same signification as "er" in 
English, &s Londoner, &c., &c. Although these tribes are, as just 
observed, related, they are nevertheless extremely jealous and 
suspicious of each other, and almost constantly at war. 

In giving an account of these people, we shall endeavour to 
trace the life of one from his birth upwards. 

When a woman is near her confinement she removes from 
the encampment with some of the women to assist her. As 
soon as the child is bom, the information is conveyed to the 
father, who immediately goes to see the child and to attend upon 
the mother, by carrying firewood, water, &c. If there are un- 


married men and boys in the camp, as there generally are, the 
woman and her friends are obliged to remain at a distance in 
their own encampment. This appears to be part of the same 
superstition which obliges a woman to separate herself from the 
camp at the time of her monthly illness, when, if a young man or 
boy should approach, she calls out, and he immediately makes a 
circuit to avoid her. If she is neglectful upon this point, she 
exposes herself to scolding, and sometimes to severe beating by 
her husband or nearest relation, because the boys are told from 
their infancy^ that if they see the blood they will early become 
grey-headed, and their strength will fail prematurely. 

If the child is permitted to live (I say permitted, because they 
are frequently put to death) it is brought up with great care, 
more than generally faUs to the lot of children of the poorer 
class of Europeans. Should it cry, it is passed from one person 
to another and caressed and soothed, and the father will fre- 
quently nurse it for several hours together. 

Children that are weak or deformed, or illegitimate, and the 
child of any woman who has already two children alive, are put 
to death. No mother will venture to bring up more than two 
children, because she considers that the attention which she 
would have to devote to them would interfere with what she 
regards as the duty to her husband, in searching for roots, &c. 
If the father dies before a child is bom, the child is put to death 
by the mother, for the Father who provides for us all is unknown 
to them. This crime of infanticide is increased by the whites, for 
nearly all the children of European fathers used to be put to 
death. It is remarkable that when the children are first bom 
they are nearly as white as Europeans, so that the natives some- 
times find it difficult to say whether they are of pure blood or 
not. In such doubtful cases the form of the nose decides. When 
the child commences to walk, the father gives it a name, which is 
frequently derived from some circumstances which occurred at 
the time of the child's birth; or, as each tribe has a kind of 
patron or protector in the objects of nature, as Thunder, the 
protector of the Raminjerar, a kind of ant, the protector of the 


Eargarinjerar, the pelican, a kind of snake, &c., &c., of other 
tribes, the father often confers the name of this protector (as the 
pouch of the pelican), or a part of it, upon the child. Qrown-up 
persons frequently exchange names, probably as a mark of 

Children are suckled by their mothers for a considerable tune, 
sometimes to the age of five or six years; and it is no uncommon 
thing to see a boy playing with his companions, suddenly leave 
off and run to his mother to refresh himself with a draught of 
milk. When weaned, he accompanies his father upon short 
excursions, imless he should be delicate and unable to bear the 
fatigue, upon which occasion the father takes every opportunity 
to instruct his son. For instance, if they arrive at a place con- 
cerning which they have any tradition, it is told to the child if 
old enough to understand it. Or he shows him how to procure 
this or that animal, or other article of food, in the easiest way. 
Until his fourteenth or fifteenth year he is moAtly engaged in 
catching fish and birds, because already, for some years, he haa 
been obliged to seek for food on his own account. Thus he early 
becomes, in a great measure, independent; and there is nobody 
who can control him, the authority of his parents depending only 
upon the superstitions which they have instilled into him from 
infancy; and the prohibitions respecting certain kinds of food — 
for different kinds of food are allotted to persons of different ages 
— are enforced by their superstitions. The roes of fishes are 
appropriated to the old men, and it is believed that if women or 
3'oung men or children eat of them they will become prematurely 
old. Other kind of meat they consider diminishes the strength 
of the muscles, &a, &c. At certain seasons of the year, when a 
I>articular kind of fish is abundant, the men frequently declare it 
to be rambe (holy); after which, all that are caught must be 
brought to the men, by whom they are cooked, and the women 
and children are not allowed even to appixMU^h the fires until the 
cooking is over and the fish are cold, when they may approach 
and eat of what the men choose to give them, after having 
previously regaled themselves. 


The boys, besides being taught to obtain their own food» are 
also exercised in the use of the spear and other weapons; and 
when arrived at the age of fourteen or fifteen years, they take 
part in the wars between the tribes. A few years afterwards, 
when sixteen or eighteen years of age, according to the growth 
of the beard, he is admitted into the rank of the men, and 
becomes rambe, or sacred, in the following way: — 

In the summer time, when the nights are warm, several tribes 
meet together for the purpose of fighting, and afterwards 
amusing themselves with dancing and singing. Immediately 
after the fight, the relations of the different tribes visit each 
other for purposes of amusement. Previously, however, the men 
have spoken together, and agreed to make some two of the boys 
into men, and for this purpose have provided themselves with 
grease and red ochre, which are required in the ceremony to 
be performed. In the midst of the amusement the men suddenly 
give a shout, and all turn towards the two young men, who are 
suddenly seized and carried away by the men. The females 
cease their singing and begin to scold, for from this time they are 
not allowed to accept any food from these young men. As soon 
as these latter are brought to the place appointed for the cere- 
mony two fires are made, and the young men placed between. 
Several of the men are now engaged in singeing and plucking 
out all the hair from the body except the hair of the head and 
beard, and as soon as this is accomplished, the whole body except 
the face is rubbed over with grease and red ochre. The young 
men thus anointed are not allowed to sleep during the whole 
night, but must either sit or stand until the morning, when the 
men return to them, and they are then obliged to go into the 
bush until sundown, when they return to their male relations, 
but are to avoid the females, and obtain some food, for until now 
they have not eaten. They are now considered rambe (sacred or 
holy), and no female must accept any food from them, not even 
their own brothers, until such time as they are allowed to ask for 
a wife. For a year after this the two assist each other in 
singeing and plucking out the hair, and rubbing in the ochre and 


grease; and the next year they pluck out each other's beards, 
and apply the grease and ochre to the face as well as to the other 
parts of the body. When the beard has again grown to a con- 
siderable length it is a second time plucked out, after which they 
have a right to ask for wives; but this rule is not without 
exception, for it seems that when any tribe is much diminished 
by deaths, the young men are permitted to marry earlier by 
a year or thereabout. The plucking out of the beard and 
anointing with grease and ochre the men may continue if they 
please till about forty years of age, for they consider it orna- 
mental, and fancy that it makes them look younger, and gives 
them an importance in the eyes of the women, and above all, 
that it makes them fat, for they admire a fat man however ugly. 

It must be observed that before the boys are made Kainjarvar 
— for so they are called after being painted as described above — 
they are very much offended at having the beard touched or even 
spoken of, and frequently one of their fights commences in the 
following manner: — Two tribes having put together some of the 
painted ones on one side, will shake the left hand in a threaten- 
ing manner, and call out to the boys of the other tribe, Towunde 
mak ngawir — You are naked upon the cheek, boys; to which 
taunt they reply by throwing their spears, thuscommencingthefight. 

A rude kind of tattooing is practised amongst them, consisting 
merely in making scars without applying any colour, and for this 
there seems to be no particular time allotted, as sometimes boys 
of ten or twelve years of age may be seen with several large 
cuts upon the breast and shoulders, and others, several years 
older, without. They consider it not only as ornamental, but also 
as a means of alleviating pain, and giving freedom of motion to 
the arms, and enabling them to use the spear and shield with 

The education of the females Ls simple. As soon as weaned 
they receive the fringe, for covering the pubes, which is the only 
article of dress considered absolutely necessary; for the skins or 
mats which they sometimes wear, are worn only at pleasure, and 
both men and women generally go uncovered, or wear some 


article of clothing given to them by the Europeans, only, as just 
observed, the female is obliged to wear the fringe until near the 
birth of her first child; and, should she prove barren, it is taken 
away by her husband while she is asleep, and burned. They are 
^ven in marriage at a very early age (ten or twelve years). 
The ceremony is very simple, and with great propriety may be 
<;onsidered an exchange, for no man can obtain a wife unless he 
can promise to give his sister or other relative in exchange. The 
marriages are always between persons of different tribes, and 
never in the same tribe. Should the father be living he may 
^ve his daughter away, but generally she is the gift of the 
brother. The person who wishes to obtain a wife never applies 
directly, but to some friend of the one who has the disposal of 
her, and should the latter also wish for a wife, the bargain is soon 
made. Thus the girls have no choice in the matter, and fre- 
quently the parties have never seen each other before. At the 
time appointed for the marriage, the relations on both sides come 
and encamp about a quarter of a mile from each other. In the 
night the men of one tribe arise, and each takes a fire-stick 
in hand. The bride is taken by the hand and conducted in the 
midst, and appears generally to go very unwillingly; the brother 
or relation who gives her away walks silently and with downcast 
looks by himself. As soon as they approach the camp of the 
other tribe, the women and children of the latter must quit the 
hut, which upon this occasion is built larger than their huts 
usually are. When they arrive at the hut, one of the men 
invites them to take their places; but before they sit down the 
bride and bridegroom are placed next each other, and also the 
brother and his intended wife, if it is a double maiTiage. The 
friends and relations then take their places on each side of the 
principal parties. They sit in this manner, silent, for a con- 
siderable time, imtil most of them fall asleep. At daybreak the 
brides leave the hut and go to their nearest relations, and remain 
with them until the evening, when they are conducted to their 
husbands by their female friends, and the tribes then separate 
and go to their own districts. When married very young, the girl 


is frequently away from her husband, upon a visit to her relations, 
for several months at a time, but should she remain, the man is 
under obligation to provide her with animal food (providing 
vegetable food is always the duty of the females), and if she 
pleases him, he shows his affection by frequently rubbing her 
with grease to improve her personal appearance, and with the 
idea that it will make her grow rapidly and become fat. 

If a man has several girls at his disposal, he speedily obtains 
several wives, who, however, very seldom agree well with each 
other, but are continually quarrelling, each endeavouring to be 
the favourite. The man, regarding them more as slaves than in 
any other light, employs them in every possible way to his own 
advantage. They are obliged to get him shell-fish, roots, and 
eatable plants. If one from another tribe should arrive having 
anything which he desires to purchase, he perhaps makes a 
bargain to pay by letting him have one of his wives for a longer 
or shorter period. The Europeans and others are aware of this, 
and therefore if any woman whose company they desire refuses 
to go with them, they commonly go to the husband with some 
bread or tobacco, or article of clothing, who then compels her to 
gi*ant what the white man desires. Miserable and degraded 
beings! When will they throw off these diabolical practices, and 
become obedient to the laws of our God ? 

Their mode of life is a wandering one; but the whole tribe 
does not always move in a body from one place to another, unless 
there should be abundance of food to be obtained at some parti- 
cular spot ; but generally they are scattered in search of food. 
Sometimes of a morning two or three of the men will leave the 
camp to go fishing. If they are fortunate, after having satisfied 
their hunger they will lie down and sleep for several hours; they 
tlien perhaps get up and search for another meal, and if they 
have obtained more than they can consume, they return at sunset 
to the cam{) with the remainder, which they distribute amongst 
their wives and children if married, or if unmarried, amongst 
their friends and relations. Sometimes the men go out with their 
wives and chihlren, when the men employ themselves, according 


to the season, either in fishing or hunting emus, opossums, kan- 
garoos, &c., while the women and children search for roots and 
plants. If food is not found in the neighbourhood, they remain 
out sometimes a month or longer, wandering about from place ta 
place. Upon these occasions the aged and sick, who remain at 
what may be considered their head-quarters (the place from which 
the tribe derives its name), often suflfer severely from want of 
food. Having to search for food is not the only cause of their 
wandering about from place to place, but also their frequent wars,, 
and the meetings of the different tribes for purposes of amuse- 
ment, and the wish of the women to visit their relations in the 
tribes to which they originally belonged. 

These circumstances taken together make their residence at 
one place very uncertain. This wandering life must be considered 
as the cause of their having no permanent habitations, but merely 
huts of the rudest construction. Arrived at a place where they 
intend to remain for the night, the women and children proceed 
to obtain some branches, which are placed in a semicircle open to 
the side opposite to that from which the wind is blowing at the 
time, placed a little closer and with more care in bad weather, so 
as to afford some shelter from the wind and rain, and constitute the 
hut. Near the sea, if they are likely to remain for some time, 
they cover the hut with sea-weed, and the branches composing 
the framework being arranged something in the form of a quarter 
of a sphere, or the half of a bee-hive cut perpendicularly, it makes 
a pretty good defence against the weather. Yet the children and 
sick persons, no doubt, suffer considerably in bad weather, and 
the former, left to themselves as soon as weaned, lie huddled 
together to keep themselves warm. 

Before the arrival of the Europeans they had two modes of 
catching fish — with the net and the spear — to which must now 
be added the hook and the line, which they have learned of the 
whites. They use the spear at the Murray in catching the large 
fish, MaUmve. Going into the river as far as he can to use the 
spear with effect, the native stands like a statue, holding the 
spear obliquely in both hands ready to strike his prey as it passes. 


Standing motionless, he is soon surrounded by fish, and the first 
that passes his feet is pierced by a certain and powerful thrust. 
Sometimes they make use of a canoe made of bark, from which 
they spear the fish, and have a fire in the middle, upon which 
they are immediately roasted. The nets are precisely similar in 
texture to European nets, though made without mesh and needle, 
and they display considerable patience and ingenuity in the 
manufacture. The string of which they are made is composed of 
the fibres of a kind of fiag. It is prepared by roasting the leaves, 
and afterwards chewing them ; the leaf is then divided longitu- 
dinally into four, two of these are twisted by being rolled upon 
the thigh, and are then twisted together by being rolled the con- 
trary way; other lengths are added until as much line is made as 
is required. In the operation of netting the twine is wound 
round a short stick which answers the purpose of a needle, and 
the meshes are formed and the knot tied by passing the string 
over and between the fingers. Thus are made long pieces or 
ribbons of netting twenty or thirty feet long, and about a foot 
broad, which are afterwards put together to make a fishing-net. 
The net is kept extended by pieces of sticks, placed across at the 
distance of about four feet from each other. 

Some nets are furnished with a bag or pouch of netting, with 
smaller meshes placed at one end of the net, into which the 
smaller fish are driven as the net is hauled in. When the fish 
approach the shore the natives enter the water with the net, and 
swim about until they get the fish between themselves and the 
shore, they then spread out the net, those on shore directing 
them, so that they may enclose the fish, and as soon as this is 
accomplished they are drawn to the shore. 

Swans, geese, ducks, and other birds, which are plentiful at the 

Lake, are caught with a noose at the end of a long stick, with 

which the native steals upon them amongst the reec^s which 

border the margin. Shell and crayfish they get by diving, the 

last generally by the women; in obtaining which, one woman 

last year lost her life, having by some means or other become 

jammed between the rocks at the bottom of the sea. 



In hunting the kangaroo they somethnes go a number together, 
and sometimes singly. When going singly, the native takes care 
to have his spear in good order; he places it over the fire to 
straighten it, sharpens the point with a shell, and barbs it -with 
pieces of quartz or glass, fixed on with the resin of the grass-tree. 
Having prepared his spear he takes his Koye (basket) upon his 
shoulder, which contains his throwing stick and other weapons of 
defence, and goes in search of his prey. When arrived at the 
place where he expects to find some kangaroo, he seems quite a 
difierent man. He is now silent; rolling his eyes from side to 
side, and looking in every direction, he moves forward with long 
strides, his body erect and arm motionless, the spear grasped in 
both hands, and held obliquely in front. As soon as he perceives 
a kangaroo he stops suddenly, and watches an opportunity to 
steal upon it while holding down its head to graze; when near 
enough he fixes the spear in the throwing stick, and taking his 
aim he sends it flying at his prey, which seldom escapes him. 
When a number go in company they endeavour to surround the 
kangaroo, and gradually close in upon him, and at length despatch 
him with their spears and sticks. 

The emu is hunted in the same manner. Other tribes are said 
to use large nets in taking the kangaroo and emu; but it is quite 
foreign to the practice of the tribes of whom we are now speaking. 
The opossum is himted only by some tribes. 

In this district the Raminjerar are the only opossum hunters, 
and they manifest considerable dexterity in getting tbem from 
the hollow branches of trees which they inhabit. Before ascend- 
ing a tree they examine the bark to see if an opossum has 
recently gone up, by the marks which their claws leave upon the 
bark. Having determined that there is an opossum in the tree, 
one commences to climb, and in a few seconds ascends thirty or 
forty feet without any branches to assist, and this accomplished 
only by means of a stick about two feet long, pointed at one end. 
With this stick he first makes a small hole in the bark, into which 
he inserts the great toe of the left foot, and then driving the point 
of the stick held by the right hand intoihe bark as high as he can. 


and embracing the tree with his left arm, he lifts himself up, and 
now supports himself upon the toe of the left foot, and by the left 
arm embracing the tree; and taking out the stick he makes 
another hole at a convenient distance above the first, then again 
driving the stick into the tree he holds on by it while raising the 
left foot to the second hole, and lifts himself up as before, and so 
on until he arrives at the branches. Here arrived, he ascertains 
by tapping against the branch in which the opossum is, where the 
hollow terminates. If the hollow is of small depth, he puts in his 
hand, seizes it by the tail, and striking its head two or three times 
against the tree throws it down to his companions. If the hollow 
is deeper there is more difficulty. He makes a hole where he 
considers the hollow to terminate, and endeavours to seize the 
opossum; but if it has ascended, he applies fire, the smoke of 
which speedily drives the animal out of the top of the branch, 
where the native is ready to seize it. 

The preparation of their food is extremely simple. Fish, cray- 
fish, opossums, and small birds, are roasted upon the fire; roots 
and shell fish are roasted in the ashes; some plants, the flesh of 
the kangaroo, emu, &c., are prepared in the following manner:— 
A hole is dug and a fire kindled therein, stones are added, and 
when sufficiently heated, the fire is removed and grass placed 
upon the hot stones; the article to be cooked is placed upon the 
grass, covered with more grass, and the whole covered up with 
earth; if they think there will not be sufficient steam, holes are 
made and water poured in. 

In proportion as these people are removed from the true 

knowledge of God so they are deeply sunk in superstition, as 

witnessed by their notions of diseases, the means adopted to cure 

them, and the observations in disposing of their dead. There are 

but few diseases which they regard as the consequences of natural 

causes; in general they consider them the effects of enchantment, 

and produced by sorcerers. They fancy that they can charm or 

enchant by means of two instruments, one called plongge, the 

other mokani. The plongge is a stick about two feet long, with 

a large knob at the end. They believe that if a person is tapped 

P 2 


gently upon the breast with this instrument he will become ill 
and die, or if he should shortly afterwards receive a wound ihat 
it will be mortal. The charming is generally performed upon a 
person asleep; therefore, when several tribes are encamped near 
each other there is always one keeping watch that they may not 
be charmed by any of the other tribe. Should a man have an 
enemy whom he wishes to enchant, and he can steal upon him 
while sleeping without being discovered, he thinks to throw him 
into a sounder sleep by striking in the air before his face as 
though in the act of sprinkling with a tufb of emu feathers whidb 
have been previously moistened in the liquor from a putrid corpse, 
and having performed the same operation upon any others who 
are sleeping near, to prevent their awaking, he taps gently with 
the plongge upon the breast of his victim. The mokani is a black 
stone, shaped something like the head of an axe, fixed between 
two sticks bound together, which serve for a handle. The sharp 
side of the stone is used to enchant males, the other side females. 
It is used in the same manner as the plongge. The ngadungge is 
another instrument to cause illness and death. Enemies watch 
each other, and search diligently for places where they have eaten 
ducks, parrots, cockatoos, a kind of fish called ponde, &a If any 
one has eaten of either of these animals, and neglected to bum 
all the bones, his enemy picks them up. But if the other has 
been too careful to enable him to do this, he takes one of these 
animals and cooks it, and offers it in a friendly manner to his 
intended victim — ^having previously taken from it a piece of 
bone. This he keeps carefully, and fixes with grass-tree resin 
upon the end of a small needle-shaped piece of kangaroo bone 
about three inches long. This is the ngadungge, which he 
places near the fire, in order to produce illness and death. While 
in possession of this instrument, he fancies he has the other in 
his power. Should a man become sick, if he is satisfied that his 
illness is not owing to the plongge or mokani, he attributes it to 
the ngadungge, which he supposes an enemy of his has placed 
near the fire. If he has, or can obtain from one of his friends, a 
ngadungge giving him power over the person whom he sus- 


pects, he immediately places it near the fire. If he is only certain 
of the tribe to which his enemy belongs, without knowing whom 
to suspect, he gets as many ngadungges as he can, giving; power 
over individuals of that tribe, and places them near the fire; 
should he become better, his recovery is attributed to his enemy 
having removed from the fire the ngadungge which made him 
ill; and as soon as the others are attacked with illness, in conse- 
quence of the ngadungges which he has placed, he removes 
them also. Should he become worse and die, the ngadungges 
are left until the resin is melted and the pieces of bone come 
apart ; which they think will cause the death of their enemies. 
If a person is convinced that the death of a friend or relation has 
been caused by enchantment, and he can obtain a ngadungge 
having power over the person whom he suspects, he places it in 
the thigh of the corpse, believing that this will cause the sus- 
pected person to die a lingering death. If any peraon should die, 
and his friends are ignorant of the cause, his death is attributed 
to sorcerers, called Melapar. They apply this name to the 
Adelaide and more northern tribes, and believe that they have 
the power of transforming themselves into birds, trees, &c. Both 
yoimg and old are very much afraid of these Melapar, and, in 
consequence, do not like to be away from their huts after sunset. 
Nearly every tribe has its own doctor, who has but one remedy 
for every disease ; but every doctor has a difierent one, and this 
is the object, animal or vegetable, which he regards as his friend 
or protector — thus one has a snake, another an ant, another sea- 
weed, &c. &c. The sick man may either go to the doctor, or send 
for hiuL If the doctor is prepared, he loiocks against the hut 
with his fingers, and upon the shoulder of the patient; then 
squeezes the part affected between his hands, and sucks it with 
his mouth ; having done this for a minute or two, he spits out (if 
this is his protector) seaweed upon the hand of the patient, which 
he is to keep carefully until it is dry. In the evening, the doctor 
and friends of the patient assemble round him, and sing as loud 
as they can to drive away the disease. 


The doctor sits in front of the patient with two sticks, one in 
each hand, beating the air; and the women beat upon kangaroo 
skins, rolled up, held between their knees. He pretends to have 
sucked out the seaweed from the patient; and if anyone should 
hint his having previously put it into his mouth he becomes 
indignant, and threatens to send it with the disease into his 

Some weeks ago I accompanied a man, whose eye was inflamed, 
to the doctor. The old man was sitting before his hut in com- 
pany with some of his friends, with a large portion of cooked 
plants before him, which he appeared to enjoy very much. 
Having learned the purpose of our coming, and knowing that I 
would watch his movements, he sat for some time as if in silent 
contemplation, and then said in a low tone, " I am not able to 
suck to-day; I have eaten too much of this (pointing to the 
plants), and there is much wind upon my stomach — I will come 
to-morrow." The next morning the doctor came, and after suck- 
ing the eye it became much better, which, doubtless, it would 
have been without his assistance. There is another man in the 
same tribe who cures a kind of large boils, which the natives are 
very subject to, by sucking out the matter and swallowing it, 
saying that it is his ngaitye (friend or protector). 

They have several different modes of disposing of the dead, 
depending upon the age and sex of the deceased. Children, still- 
born, or that have been put to death immediately after birth, are 
b\u*ned. If a child dies a natural death, it is carefully packed 
up, and the mother or grandmother carries it about with her for 
several months, or a year; after which it is exposed upon a tree 
until the bones are completely cleaned, after which they are 
buried. Young and middle-aged persons are buried in the 
following manner; — As soon as the person is dead, the knees are 
drawn up towards the head, and the hands placed between the 
thighs. Two fii-es are kindled, and the corpse placed between 
them, so as to receive the heat of the fires and of the sun. After 
a few days the skin becomes loose, and is taken off. Such a 
corpse is then called grinkari. This custom may explain why 

TRADmONa 199 

this name has been applied to Europeans, from the resemblance 
between their colour and that of the native corpse after the skin 
has been removed. 

After this, all the openings of the body are sewn up, and the 
whole surface rubbed with grease and red ochre. Thus prepared, 
the corpse is placed upon a hut, so arranged that the head and 
arms can be tied. It is then placed with the face to the east and 
the arms extended, and a fire is kept constantly beneath. It 
remains thus until quite dry, when it is taken by the relations 
and packed up in mats, and then carried from one place to 
another — the scenes of his former life. After having been thus 
carried about for several months, it is placed upon a platform of 
sticks, and left until completely decayed. The head is then 
taken by the next of kin, and serves him for a drinking vessel; 
and now his name may be mentioned, which, if done before, 
would highly offend his relations, and is sometimes the cause of a 
war. This may be the reason of there being several names for 
the same thing. Thus, if a man has the name ngnke (which 
signifies water), the whole tribe must use some other word to 
express water for a considerable time after his death. 

If a man is killed in battle, or dies in consequence of a wound, 
he is supposed to have been charmed with the plongge. And in 
addition to the above-mentioned ceremonies they hold a kind of 
inquest over the corpse to ascertain to whom he owes his death. 
One of the nearest relations sleeps with his head resting upon the 
cori)se until he dreams of the guilty person. As soon as this is 
ascertained, which is generally after the first or second night, he 
orders wood to be brought to make a kind of bier, upon which 
the coq)se is placed. . Several men then take the bier upon their 
shoulders, and the dreamer, striking upon the breast of the 
corpse, asks: "Wlio charmed you?" He then mentions the name 
of some pei-son. All remain <[uiet. After he has asked this 
question several times, and mentioned several names, he men- 
tions the name of the person he saw in his dream. The bearers 
then immediately begin running as if mad, pretending that the 
corpse has moveil itself. The coq)se is then erected as above 


described, and all the friendly tribes come to lament. The nearest 
retations cut their hair and blacken their faces, and the old 
women put human excrement upon their heads — the sign of the 
deepest mourning. If the supposed guilty one should come to 
the lamentation, the dreamer looks narrowly to his countenance, 
and if he does not shed tears is the more convinced of his guilty 
and considers it now his duty to avenge his relation's death. 
The person who sews up the apertures of the corpse runs some 
risk if he does not provide himself with good string; as if the 
string should break it is attributed to the displeasure of the 
deceased, who is supposed to make known in this manner that 
he has been charmed by him; also, if the small quill used as a 
needle should not be sufficiently sharp to penetmte the flesh 
easily, the slightest movement, caused by pressing the blunt 
point into the flesh, is supposed to be spontaneous motion of the 
corpse, and to indicate that the sewer is the guilty person. 

Bather aged persons are not treated with all the ceremonies 
above mentioned, but are merely wrapped up in mats and 
placed upon a elevated platform, formed of sticks and branches, 
supported by a tree and two posts; and after the flesh has 
decayed, the bones are burned ; the very old are buried imme- 
diately after death. 

As the mythology and traditions of other heathen nations are 
more or less immoral and obscene, so it is with these people. 

The sun they consider to be a female, who, when she sets, 
passes the dwelling-places of the dead. As she approaches, the 
men assemble, and divide into two bodies, leaving a road for her 
to pass between them; they invite her to stay with them, which 
she can only do for a short time, as she must be ready for her 
journey for the next day. For favours granted to some one 
among them she receives a present of a red kangaroo skin; and, 
therefore, in the morning, when she rises, appears in a red dress. 
The moon is also a woman, and not particularly chaste. She 
stays a long time with the men, and from the effects of her 
intercourse with them, she becomes very thin, and wastes away 
to a mere skeleton. When in this state, Nurrunduri orders her 

i ' 


I :^ 

4 ■ •] 
f > 

• I 






to be driven away. She flies, and is secreted for some time, but 
is employed all the time in seeking roots which are so nourishing 
that in a short time she appears again, and fills out and becomes 
fat rapidly. The stars were formerly men, and leave their huts 
in the evening, to go through the same employments which they 
did while on earth. Some are remarkable amongst them, as 
Pungngane, Waijungngari, and their Ningarope. The first was 
bom naturally, and the others were made as follows: — ^Ningarope 
having retired upon a natural occasion, was highly pleased with 
the red colour of her excrement, which she began to mould into 
the form of a man, and tickling it, it showed signs of life, and 
began to laugh. He was thus a Kainjani at once from his colour, 
and his mother took him into the bush and remained with him. 
Pungngane, his brother, had two wives, and lived near the sea. 
Once when he remained out a long time, his two wives left the 
hut and went and found Waijungngari. As they approached he 
was asleep, and the two women placed themselves on each side of 
the hut, and began making the noise of an emu. The noise woke 
him, and he took his spear to kill them; but, as soon as he ran 
out, the two women embraced him, and requested him to be their 
husband. His mother, enraged at the conduct of the women, 
went to Pungngane, and told what had happened. Very much 
enraged, he left his hut to seek that of his brother, which he soon 
found; but there was no one there, as his wives and brother were 
out seeking for food. Very much vexed, he put some fire upon 
the hut, saying *'hindajan" meaning — let it remain, but not 
bum immediately. Waijungngari and the two women arrived in 
the evening, and, lying down to sleep, the fire began to bum 
and presently to fall upon the skins with which they were 
covered. Awaking with fright, they threw away the skins and 
ran to the sea. Out of danger, and recovered a little from his firigbt, 
Waijungngare began to think how he could escape the wrath 
of his brother, and threw a spear up to the sky, which touched 
it, and came down again. He then took a barbed spear, and 
throwing it upwards with all his force, it remained sticking in 
the sky. By this he climbed up, and the two women after him. 


PungDgane seeing his brother and wives in the sky, followed, 
with his mother, where they have remained ever since. To 
Pungngane and Waijungngari the natives attribute the abundance 
of kangaroo and the fish called ponde. Pungngane caught a 
ponde, and dividing it into small pieces, and throwing them 
into the sea, each became a ponde. Waijungngari multiplied 
kangaroos in the same manner. They have many similar 
histories of the stars. The milky-way, they say, is a row of 
huts, amongst which they point out the heaps of ashes and the 
smoke ascending. 

They do not appear to have any story of the origin of the* 
world; but nearly all animals they suppose anciently to have 
been men who performed great prodigies, and at last transformed 
themselves into different kinds of animals and stones! Thus the 
Kaminjerar point out several large stones or points of rock along 
the beach, whose sex and name they distinguish. One rock they 
say is an old man named Lime, upon which women and children 
are not allowed to tread; but old people venture to do so firom 
their long acquauitance with him. They point out his head, 
feet, hands, and also his hut and fire. For my part, I could see 
no resemblance to any of these things except the hut. The occa- 
sion upon which he transformed himself was as follows: — ^A 
friend of his, Palpangye, paid him a visit and brought him some 
tinwarrar (kind of fish). Lime enjoyed them very much, and 
regretted that there were no rivers in the neighbourhood, that he 
might catch them himself, as they are a river fish. Palpangye 
went into the bush and fetched a large tree, and thrusting it into 
the groimd in different places, water immediately began to flow, 
and formed the Inman and Hindmarsh rivers. Lime, out of 
gratitude, gave him some kanmari (small sea fish), and trans- 
formed himself into rock, the neighbourhood of which has ever 
since abounded in this kind of fish. Palpangye became a bird, 
and is frequently near the rivers. The steep hill and large ponds 
at Mootabarringar were produced by the dancing of their fore- 
fathers at that place. At the present time it is customary for 
two hundred or three hundred natives to meet together at their 


dances (or corroberies as ihey are called by the whites). At 
sunset a fire is made, to give light. The women sit apart, with 
skins rolled up and held between the knees, upon which they 
beat time. The young men are ornamented, after their fashion, 
with a tuft of emu feathers in the hair; and those who are not 
painted red, ornament themselves with chalk, by making circles 
round the eyes, a stroke along the nose, and dots upon the 
forehead and cheeks, while the rest of the body is covered with 
fanciful figures. One commences singing, and if all cannot join 
(for the songs are frequently in a difierent language, taken from 
some distant tribe), he commences another song. If the song is 
known to all, the women scream or yell out at the top of their 
voices, and the men commence a grotesque kind of dance, which 
to us appears sufficiently ridiculous and amusing. It is upon an 
occasion like this that they represent their ancestors to have 
been assembled at Mootabarringar. Having no fire, this dance 
was held in the daytime, and the weather being very hot, the 
perspiration flowed copiously from them and formed the large 
ponds ; and the beating of their feet upon the ground produced 
the irregularities of surface in the form of the hills and valleys. 
They sent messengers, Kuratje and Kanmari, towards the east, to 
Kondole, to invite him to the feast, as they knew that he pos- 
sessed fire. Kondole, who was a large powerful man, came, but 
hid his fire, on account of which alone he had been invited. The 
men, displc&scd at this, determined to obtain the fire by force ; 
but no one ventured to approach him. At length one named 
Rilballe determined to wound him with a spear, and then take 
the fire from him. He threw the spear and wounded him in the 
neck. This caused a great laughing and shouting, and nearly all 
were transformed into difierent animals. Kondole ran to the sea, 
and became a whale, and ever after blew the water out of the 
wound which he had received in his neck. Kuratje and Kanmari 
became small fish. The latter was dressed in a good kangaroo 
skin, and the former only a mat made of seaweed, which is the 
reason, they say, that the kanmari contains a great deal of oil 
under the skin, while the kuratje is dry and without fat Others 


became opossums, and went upon trees. The young men, 
who were ornamented with tufts of feathers, became cockatoos^ 
the tuft of feathers being the crest. Rilballe took Kondole's fire 
and placed it in the grass-tree, where it stOl remains, and can be 
brought out by rubbing. (The operation for obtaining fire is as 
follows: — ^A split piece of the flower-stem is placed upon the 
ground, the fllat side uppermost, and the lower end of a thinner 
piece pressed upon it, while the upper part is held between the 
palms of the hands, and an alternate revolving motion given 
to it by rubbing the hands backwards and forwards till it 

They tell a number of other stories concerning the origin of 
the sea, heat, &;c., &c.; but it will suffice to mention the cause 
of rain and the origin of languages — Near the Goolwa lived an 
old man named Kortuwe, with his two friends, Munkari and 
WaingUbe. The latter, who were considerably younger than 
Kortuwe, went out fishing, and as they caught kuratje and 
kanmari, they put the kuratje, which are not so good as the 
kanmari, aside for Kortuwe. The old man perceiving this, com- 
menced a song, Annaitjeranangk rotjer tampatjeranangk (in 
the Encounter Bay dialect it would be, Ngannangk kuraije 
tampi/n, "for me they put aside the kuratje"), upon which rain 
began to fall Kortuwe then went into his hut, and closed it 
with bushes, and Munkari and Waingilbe were obliged to remain 
outside, and got wet as a punishment. The three were trans- 
formed into birds, and as often as Kortuwe makes a noise it is a 
sign that rain will soon follow. 

Languages originated from an ill-tempered old woman. In 
remote time an old woman, named Wurruri, lived towards the 
east, and generally walked with a large stick in her hand, to 
scatter the fires round which others were sleeping. Wurruri at 
length died. Greatly delighted at this circumstaace, they sent 
messengers in all directions to give notice of her death; men, 
women, and children came, not to lament, but to show their joy. 
The Raminjerar were the first who fell upon the corpse and 
began eating the fiesh, and immediately began to speak intelli- 


gibly. The other tribes to the eastward arriving later, ate the 
contents of the intestines, which caused them to speak a language 
slightly different. The northern tribes came last, and devoured 
the intestines and all that remained, and immediately spoke a 
language differing still more from that of the Raminjerar. 

All this happened before the time of Nurunduri, with whose 
departure from the earth the power of transforming themselves, 
and making rivers, hills, &c., ceased. As, with Nurunduri, a 
new epoch commenced, as much of his history as can be told with 
decency here follows: — He was a tall and powerful man, and 
lived in the east, with two wives, and had several children. 
Upon one occasion his two wives ran away from him, and he 
went in search of them. Wherever he arrived he spread teiTor 
amongst the people, who were dwarfs compared with him. Con- 
tinuing his pursuit, he arrrived at Freeman's Nob and there 
made water, from which circumstance the place is called Kain- 
jenauld (kainjamin, to make water). Disappointed at not finding 
his wives, he threw two small nets, called witti, into the sea, and 
immediately two small rocky islands arose, which ever since have 
been called Wittungenggul. He went on to Ramong, where, by 
stamping with his feet he created Kungkengguwar (Rosetta 
Head). From heuce he threw spears in different directions, and 
wherever they fell, small rocky islands arose. At length he 
found his two wives at Toppong. After beating them they en- 
deavoured again to escape. Now tired of pursuing them, he 
ordered the sea to flow and drown them. They were transformed 
into rocks, and are still to be seen at low water. Discontented 
and unhappy, he removed with his children to a great distance 
towards the west, where he still lives, a very old man, scarcely 
able to move. WTien he went away one of his children was 
asleep, and, in consequence, left behind. Nurunduri, when arrived 
at the place where he intended to remain, missed him, and making 
fast one end of a string to his maralengk, he threw the other end 
towards where he supposed his son to be, who, catching hold of 
it, helped himself along to his father. This line is still the guide 
by which the dead find their way to Nurunduri When a man 


dies, Nurunduri's son, who first found the way to his father by 
means of the line, throws it to the dead man, who, catching hold 
of it, is conducted in like manner. When he comes near, the old 
man, feeling the motion of the line, asks his son who is coming. 
If it is a man, the son calls all the men together, who, by a great 
shouting, arouse the half-stupefied man. When come to himself, 
he silently and sadly approaches Nurunduri, who points out to 
him where he is to reside. If he belongs to the Encounter Bay, 
or one of the Gk>olwa tribes, he is allowed to live in Nurunduri's 
hut; but if of one of the more distant tribes, at a distance off. 
Before he goes away to the place pointed out to him, Nurunduri 
carefully observes his eyes. If tears are flowing from one eye 
only, it is a sigh that he has left only one wife; if from both, two; 
if they cease to flow from one eye while they continue to flow 
from the other, he has left three wives; and according to the 
number he has left, Nurunduri provides him with others. Old 
people become young, and the infirm sound in the company of 
Nurunduri. This is what the poor uninstructed people believe; 
therefore no fears about the future, or concerning punishments 
and rewards, are entertained by them. 














It has been remarked, that the numbers and condition of the 
natives of Australia are in general dependent upon the nature of 
the country they inhabit; where the latter is of a barren 
description, the natives will be found to be few in number, and 
of an inferior external appearance; while in the opposite case, 
they will be comparatively numerous, well-looking and active. 
With the truth of this observation anyone will be struck, who 
has had an opportunity of comparing the natives of Uiis district 
with the Adelaide, and more particularly the Murray, tribes; 
the former being, upon the whole, fewer, smaller and thinner, less 
skilful, and less united, in a social point of view, than the 


The height of the Port Lincoln Aborigines is considerably 
below the European standard; a tall-looking black will seldom be 
foimd to exceed the height of a middle-sized white man, and 
with regard to size, the comparison is still more against them, so 
that one may safely venture to say that the tallest and strongest 
of them would present but a poor figure among a raiment of 
grenadiers. If it were not for their thin arms and legs, deep-set 
eyes, large ugly mouths and flattened noses, the Port Lincoln 
natives might be called a well-proportioned, compact race of 
men. They certainly have good foreheads, fine shoulders, and 
particularly high chests. The male sex exhibit a great deal 
of unstudied natural grace in their deportment, Uieir walk b 



perfectly erect and free, motions of body easy, and gestures 
natural imder all circumstances, whether speaking, fighting or 
dancing; and with regard to agility, they throw the white man 
completely into the shade. Of the women, however, one cannot 
speak so favourably, their persons being generally disfigured by 
very thin extremities, protruding abdomen, and dependent 
breasts, a condition that may perhaps be sufficiently accounted 
for by their early marrying, inferior food, and long suckling of 
children, it being by no means uncommon to see a child of three 
or four years still enjoying its mother's breast. Although to a 
passing observer the Aborigines of this district may appear all 
of the same stamp, yet, upon, a longer acquaintance with them, 
considerable difference will be found to exist, not only with 
regard to size and make, but also in the colour of their skins; 
while the northern tribes, who inhabit a scrubby country, 
generally exhibit very dark and dry-looking skins, one often 
meets among those from the south and west, with faces that 
might be almost called copper-coloured. Whether this be owing 
to the influence of climate or food I will not venture to deter- 
mine; but I think I have observed that the strongest and best 
fed natives are always of the lightest colour. 


The dress of the Port Lincoln natives consists simply of one or 
two kangaroo skins, and but rarely of rugs made of wallaby, 
opossum, or other furs, the preparation of which is performed in 
the following simple way: — As soon as the skin is taken from the 
animal it is firmly stretched on a level spot of ground by means 
of pegs inserted round the edge, the flesh side being upwards; 
when it is dry all fleshy substances that adhere to the skin are 
gently pulled or shaved off with a sharp-edged piece of quartz, 
it is then rubbed with the rough surface of an ironstone, which 
makes it both soft and pliable. The skins are then sewn 
together with the sinews from a kangaroo's tail, holes for this 
purpose being made with a thin pointed bone. Some of the 
rugs thus constructed are well enough, but upon the whole they are 

DRESS. 211 

neiiher so large nor so well made as those worn by the Adelaide 
tribe. As the skins are not tanned the natives take care not to 
allow the flesh side of Uieir cloaks to become wet, which would 
make them hard and stiff; they therefore always turn the hairy 
side outwards in rainy weather. The best rugs are always worn 
by the women, especially if they have smaU children, whom they 
serve at the same time for a covering, either sitting on the 
mother s back while travelling, or in her lap at the camp. Such 
children as are no longer carried are generally worst off for 
clothing, being eiUier quite naked, or covered only with a small 
piece of a worn-out rug. More for ornament than for any 
apparent comfort, the men wear a quantity of yam on their 
heads, woven several times round so as to leave only the crown 
uncovered. The yam is usually spun of opossum fur or human 
hair on a sort of distaff, two feet long and not thicker than 
a goose quill, having towards one end a short cross piece to wind 
the ready spun yam upon. Those who vrish to appear very 
smart embellish this ornament still further by placing a bunch of 
emu feathers in it, above the forehead. On festive occasions, 
such as the meeting of two strange tribes, they put into this 
yam two green sticks stripped of the bark, and covered with 
white shavings, that make them appear like plumes, fixing one 
behind each ear and allowing the upper end to incline forward. 
This ornament, combined with the white and red paint on the 
chest and arms, is, in my opinion, very much in character with a 
savage people, expressing a rude pomp that almost borders on 
the ferocious. I have observed this ornament only among the 
north-western tribe, to whom it may perhaps be confined. The 
tip of the tail of a wild dog or wallaby b often attached to the 
taper end of the beard, and the whole tail of a wild dog tied 
round the head, is considered very ornamental. Those natives 
tliat live amongst Europeans are fond of substituting for the 
last-mentioned ornament a white or gay coloured rag, or even a 
bit of paper. Roimd the waist the men invariably wear a belt 
or girdle of some sort, it is generally of human hair spun into 
yam, and afterwards twisted into a rope about half an inck 



thick, sometimes interwoven with emu feathers; but if they 
cannot obtain one of this sort they will use any kind of string 
rather than wear none at all. They draw it tight at all times, 
but especially when they are hungry, for the purpose, as they say, 
of staying their stomachs, or of rendering the craving of hunger 
less painful. 


The cosmetics used by the Aborigines of this district are of 
different sorts; the one most esteemed and universally applied 
by both sexes is grease. If they have an abundance of it, they 
will anoint the whole body, but in times of scarcity they confine 
themselves to the face. I have no doubt that they derive con- 
siderable comfort from this practice, particularly in hot weather, 
as I have often seen them beg very earnestly for a piece of fat, 
and as often heard them compare the custoAi to the washing of 
white men. The paints they employ in setting off the beauty of 
their persons are three, namely, black, white, and red. The first 
and last of these are obtained from places far to the north, and 
consist of a soft kind of stone, of which they scrape some powder, 
and rub it on their previously greased faces, arms, and breasts, 
when the paint, particularly the black, assumes a shining and 
metallic hue. As a substitute for the black paint, the cinders of 
a burnt grass-tree are sometimes used, which produce a deep 
black but much duller colour than the metallic paint. The whit« 
paint is a soft kind of chalk or pipeclay, and is only applied on 
particular occasions, such as dancing and mourning. How they 
ornament themselves with this paint for dancing I shall after- 
wards have an opportunity to describe; when in mourning, the 
women paint their foreheads, draw a ring round their eyes, and a 
perpendicular stripe on the stomach; while the men only put it 
on their foreheads, and at other times on their breasts, in 
different shapes, such as lines or dots, in order to indicate how 
near a relative the deceased was to them. The black paint is 
said to indicate mourning also, but I cannot say in what par- 
ticular cases. It is, however, clear that under the same circum- 
stances the natives do not all paint alike, as the deceased mast 


of necessity have stood in a different relationship to the several 
survivors, which the various modes of painting are meant to 


The weapons of the Port Lincoln tribes are rather clumsily 
made, but yet fully as efficacious as those of the Adelaide natives. 
Their spears are made of thin gum-scrub saplings, sevei^ or more 
feet long, and are straightened in hot ashes. The root end, which 
is about as thick as a man s thumb, is pointed, being previously 
hardened in the fire, and at the taper end a small hole is bored 
by means of a sharp kangaroo bone, into which the catch of the 
wommara is hooked in throwing the spear. To prevent the edge 
of the hole splitting or breaking away, a thin kangaroo sinew is 
iirmly tied round it Of the bimdle of spears that each man 
carries about with him, two or three are generally barbed, and 
for those that are not they have ready-made barbs in their knap- 
sacks, to be fixed to the spears when required. This barb is 
merely a chip of wood two inches in length, pointed at both 
ends, and so shaped that when the one end is laid even with the 
point of the speai*, Uie other projects from it at a sharp angle, 
thus forming a hook, similar to one side of a harpoon. Although 
it is fixed to the spear only by a thin thread of sinew, yet it is so 
secure that it will never slip, and it is impossible to draw a 
barbed spear out of the body of a man or animal This weapon 
is always used in spearing game, but the natives seem to consider 
it very reprehensible to use a barbed spear in fight. All these 
s)>ears are thrown with the wooden lever, known by the name of 
wommara, but here called midla, and the only other kind in use 
is the winna, which is only five feet long, very strong and clumsy, 
and only made use of in spearing large fish. The midla is about 
two feet long and as many inches broad, the upper end is rather 
pointed, and a small peg is fixed by means of sinews and gum on 
the inside, to serve as a catch for the hole in the small end of the 
spear. The handle end has a broad sharp-edged piece of quartz 
attached to it with gum, which answers the double purpose of 
pointing the spears, and also of preventing the instrument from 


slipping throagh the hand. The inside, on which the spear rests, 
is slightly hollowed out, while the outside is round, and both are 
rudely ornamented with little grooves. The midla is made of a 
long chip from the smooth and round trunk of a sheoak. The 
winds, by the whites incorrectly called waddies, are also made of 
gum saplings; they are eighteen inches in length, and barely (me 
inch in diameter, the thin end is notched in order to afford a firm 
hold for the hand, while towards the other end there is a alight 
gradual bend like that of a sword; they are, however, without 
knobs, and every way inferior to the winds of the Adelaide 
tribes. The natives use this weapon principally for throwing at 
kangaroo rats or other small animals, and also at the commence- 
mencement of a fight before they take to their spears. The 
kiatta or grubbing stick is a gum or sheoak sapling, five feet 
long and two inches in diameter; the thick end of it is hardened 
in the fire, and by means of a rough stone a broad and sharp edge 
is given to it. The use of this stick is sufficiently indicated by 
its name, namely, to dig up roots, and as this is mainly the em- 
ployment of the women, it is their constant companion. The 
wadna is the boomerang of other Australian tribes, only that it is 
longer, thinner, and clumsier; it is used solely for striking fish in 
the water, and seldom carried about by the natives, but is 
generally left at the fishing places. The most singular imple- 
ment in use with the Port Lincoln tribes — and peculiar to them, 
I believe, as I have not met with a notice of it anywhere else — 
is the yuta, a large piece of bark about four feet long, eight to 
ten inches wide, and presenting the form of an open round water- 
spout; its use is to clean the grubs of a large species of ant. 
When an ant-hill is opened it will be found to contain, among a 
mass of rubbish and innumerable small red insects, here and 
there a large white grub. These are the only ones fit for eating, 
but as it would be tedious to pick them out with the hand 
the natives put as much of the whole mass into the yuta 
as it will hold, and commence throwing it up and catching it 
again, holding the jruta all the time in a position slightly deviat- 
ing from the horizontal By this process all heavy substances 


will gradually separate and fall out of the vessel at its lower end, 
while the lighter particles seek the raised end, and thus leave, at 
last, the eatable grubs cleaned in the middle. The grubs are 
already possessed of life at the time when the natives eat them, 
and it is on this account probably, that they wrap them up in a 
clean bit of dry grass, which they chew and suck until they have 
got all the nutriment out of it, taking enormous mouthsful each 
time. It requires a great deal of dexterity to handle the jruta 
properly, so as to lose none of the white grubs, and get Uiem 
thoroughly clean; while little native children, six or seven years 
old, understand this business very well, I have never seen a 
white man succeed in imitating them. The grub is in season 
about September, and it is therefore only at that time that the 
yuta is seen among the natives. 

All the above weapons and implements are with other things 
packed in the knapsack which is carried under the left arm, 
being by one or more strings slung over the shoulder. It is either 
a mere kangaroo skin, drawn together by a string like a purse, or 
a coarse net, manufactured of Uie fibres of rushes. The smaller 
articles contained in the knapsack are: — a large flat shell for 
drinking, a round smooth stone for breaking the bones of animals, 
one or more kinds of paint, a wooden scoop used in roasting roots, 
some pieces of quartz, and the whole skin of some animal which 
answers for a purse to keep minute things in, such as kangaroo 
sinews and pointed bones of various sizes (serving for needles and 
thread), sharp-edged thin bones to peel roots with, tufts of 
feathers, tips for beards, strings, spear-barbs, &a To prevent 
these from falling through the meshes of the net, the inside of it 
is lined with dry grass. Besides the articles mentioned, the 
natives carry roots and whatever game Uiey pick up during the 
day in the nurti, as the wallet is called by them, and on the top 
of all they place their weapons, entwining them in such a manner 
in the string that closes the knapsack that they cannot slip. 
The knapsacks of the women differ in no way from those of the 
men, except that they are larger and, when full and heavy, are 
carried by them on the back by a breast-band across the chest 


Some men also carry a native knife, called bakki bakkiti, made 
of a large piece of quartz fixed to one end of a stick wiih resin. 
There is one more instrument to be mentioned, of a more sacred 
and mysterious use: this is the witama, an oval chip of wood, say 
eighteen inches long and three or four broad, smooth on both 
sides and not above half an inch thick. By a long string whidi 
passes through a hole at one end, the native swings it round his 
head through the air, when it gradually, as the string becomes 
twisted, produces a deep unearthly sound, interrupted at intervak 
and anon breaking forth again with increased intensity. From 
the women and children the witama is carefully concealed; and 
whenever it is heard, which is only at their mysterious cere- 
monies, the women know that they must not approach. 


It has been asserted that the Aborigines of this country vriH eat 
anything. This opinion has probably arisen from seeing them 
eat many things which to an European would be very disgusting, 
such as grubs, foul eggs, intestines of animals, &c. Yet there are 
articles of food relished by white men that a native wculd not 
touch; for instance, some kinds of fish, oysters, or shell-fish of 
any kind, the common mushroom, &c., although they eat almost 
all other kinds of fungus. The natives divide their food into two 
general classes, namely, paru, which denotes animal food of every 
description, and mai, which comprises all vegetable nutriments. 
To the latter class belong a variety of roots, such as ngamba, 
ngarruru, nilai, winnu, and other kinds, which are nearly all of 
the size and shape of a small carrot or radish. These are all 
roasted in hot ashes, and peeled before they are eaten, and have 
more oi less a bitter taste. The only root known to me as eaten 
in a raw state is that of the grass-tree, which grows in great 
abundance on the barren hills and plains of Port Lincoln, and is 
consumed by the natives in prodigious quantities at different 
seasons of the year. It is by no means unpleasant to the palate 
but contains, probably, very little nourishment. Several kinds 
of the fungus tribe are also consumed raw. Though this country 

FOOD. 217 

is almost entirely destitute of indigenous fruits of any value to 
an European, yet there ai^e various kinds which form very 
valuable and extensive articles of food for the Aborigines; the 
most abundant and important of these is the fruit of a species 
of cactus, very elegantly styled pig's-faces by the white people, 
but by the natives called karkalla. The size of the fruit is 
ratlier less than that of a walnut, and it has a thick skin of a 
pale reddish clour, by compressing which, the glutinous sweet 
substance inside slips into the mouth. When it is in season, 
which is from January to the end of summer, a comparatively 
glorious life begins for the Aborigines; hunger can never assail 
them, as this fi-uit is abundant all over the grassy part of the 
country, and they never tire of it; the men gather only as much 
as they want to eat at the time, but the women bring great 
quantities of it home to the camp, to be eaten at night. The 
other kinds of fruit that the natives eat grow on small trees or 
shrubs, in the shape of berries or pods. Some of these are allowed 
to ripen— as the native peach, cherry, wadnirri berry (found on 
the sea-beach), the karrambi berry (growing on the besom-tree), 
&c., while others are gathered before they are ripe, and roasted in 
hot ashes, as, for instance, the myarri and pulbuUa, cherries, and 
the menka and nondo, beans. The last-mentioned fruit, which is 
much prized by the natives, grows in abundance among the sand- 
hills between Coflin and Sleaford Bays, where it every year 
attracts a large concourse of tribes, and generally gives occasion 
for a fight. As a proof how much this bean is valued it may be 
mentioned that the Kukata tribe, notorious for ferocity and 
witchcraft, often threaten to bum or otherwise destroy the nondo 
bushes in order to aggravate their adversaries. As the wattle does 
not grow in Port Lincoln, at least not to any extent, there is but 
little eatable gum, which constitutes such an important article of 
food for the Adelaide tribes. The willow, and another shrub 
named perrenye, exude, indeed, some gum of the colour and trans- 
parency of sugar-candy, but they grow only in certain localities, 
and the quantity is comparatively limited. 


Every description of game, from the kangaroo down to the 
smallest marsupial species, and all kinds of birds, from the ema 
to the wren, constitute food for the Aborigines of this district, nor 
are snakes and other reptiles by any means despised. The com- 
monest method of procuring wild animals is to approach them 
unseen and spear them unawares. In order to effect this, some 
artifices are employed to divert the attention of the animal, such 
as one man stationing himself in an open space at a distance, or 
hiding himself in a bush and making a slight noise by breaking 
sticks or otherwise, while the huntsman is creeping nearer and 
nearer until he has his victim within reach of his spear. This is 
the usual way of killing kangaroos, emus, and wild dogs ; but in 
winter, when the ground is soft, the kangaroos are pursued till 
they are tired out, and are then killed with waddies, or if a great 
number of natives be collected, as is often the case in summer, 
they surround a district of country known to contain kangaroo, 
and by shouting, and gradually drawing closer, drive them 
towards the spot where other men are concealed and prepared to 
spear the game as it passes them ; and if near the sea-coast, they 
hunt the poor animals upon a point of land, where they are easily 
speared, or if they take to the sea, as I am told they sometimes 
will do, their enemies will pursue, even in this element, by swim- 
ming after them. The smaller animals, as wallaby and kangaroo- 
rats, that live in the scrub, are knocked down with waddies while 
running away. To start them from their lairs, a whole district is 
set on firerbefore which the hunters take their places, or if the 
bush be not dry enough to bum, they spread out in line, firing 
here and there a dry patch, and hurling their waddies at the 
scared animals. Where the scrub is low, each man has a tuft of 
feathers at the butt end of a spear, which he plants upright near 
the bush that he knows to ccmtain some animal, and as soon as the 
others see this signal they come to surround and thus make sure 
of the game. They have also a great number of manual signs, by 
which they can indicate the description of game in sight without 
speaking. Thus, pointing with the forefinger, while the rest are 
closed, and making a motion that reminds one of the hopping of 

FOOD. 21^ 

a kangaroo, indicates that animal; three fingers extended, the 
middle one dropping a little below the other two, denotes an 
emu ; four fingers shut, and the thumb only extended, means an 
opossum; the whole hand extended and held horizontally on edge 
shows that fish are seen. They have as many similar signs as 
there are kinds of game, employing a different one for each. 
Opossums and native cats are hunted in moonlight nights when 
the heavens are lightly clouded, for in perfectly clear nights the 
natives maintain the animals see them at a distance, and run to 
their holes in the rocks before they come up. In hunting 
opossums, the tamed native dogs are of great service, as they not 
only catch the animals when dropping from the trees, but also 
scent and take the natives to the game. If a kangaroo-rat is 
found in a hole or under a rock, and they can neither reach it 
with their hands nor with sticks, a fire is made at the mouth of 
the opening, until the animal is driven out or overpowered by 
the smoke. 

The natives of Port Lincoln are not so expert in procuring fish 
as those of other parts of the colony, for they neither use nets nor 
hooks. The larger kinds are speared, while the smaller sorts, 
particularly those that move about in shoab, are surrounded by 
a number of natives, each being provided with a branch of tea- 
tree, and slowly driven towards the shore, where they are secured 
by placing the branches round them and throwing them upon the 
sand. Some kinds of fish are attracted in the night by a light, 
knowing which, the natives go into the water with lighted torches 
of long, dry pieces of bark, and procure great quantities of them. 
Great excitement prevails among the natives when they are 
successful in hunting or fishing, each one exclaiming on those 
occasions, Ngaitye paru, ngaitye para, i.e., "my meat, my meat!" 
patting his stomach all the time vigorously. Many eulogiums are 
also bestowed on him to whose skill they owe the feast in pro- 
spect All kinds of meat and fish are roasted on the fire ; large 
animals, such as kangaroos, are skinned and cut into joints, but 
the smaller sorts are thrown on the fire without being skinned, 
unless the natives want to save the fur for cloaks. When the 


hair is well singed off they are taken from the fire again, and the 
inside is taken out, and is generally handed over to the women 
and children. The superstitious simplicity of the Aborigines is 
peculiarly displayed in hunting and distributing game. They 
have a number of distiches, handed down to them by their 
ancestors, and known only to the grown-up men, which are 
rapidly pronounced when they are going to pursue or spear an 
animal. The literal meaning of these charms, or imprecations, as the 
natives term them, is probably unknown to themselves, since they 
are unable to explain it ; but the object and confidently believed 
effect of them is, to throw the animal off its guard, so that it may 
not observe its enemy, or to weaken it, that it may not be able to 
escape from its pursuers. Another object in pronouncing these 
formulas appears to be, to remove the game from common use, or 
to render imperative the observance of their traditional laws with 
regard to animal food. The general principle of these laws is thi8» 
that the male of any animal should be eaten by grown-up men, 
the female by women, and the young animal by children only. 
An exception, however, is made with respect to the common 
kangaroo-rat, which may be eaten promiscuously. The wallaby, 
especially that species called by the natives yurridni, and the two 
species of bandicoot, kurkulla and yartiri, must on no account be 
eaten by young men and young women, as they are believed to 
produce premature menses in the latter, and discolour the beards 
of the former, giving them a brown tinge instead of a shining 
black. That the last-mentioned laws are strictly adhered to, I 
have had frequent opportunities of observing; but, as regards the 
general principle, I am afraid it is often disregarded, to the pro- 
fessed great grief of the men, who thence will sometimes take 
occasion to reprehend the young generation for their unprincipled 
conduct, declaring, at the same time, that in their own youth 
they scrupulously abstained from forbidden meat. Guanas and 
lizards are proper food for girls, as accelerating maturity, and 
snakes for women, promoting fecundity. 

The life of a hunter is necessaiily a roving one under any 
circumstances, but more particularly so in a country which yields 

FOOD. 221 

its scanty natural products in different localities, and at different 
seasons of the year. On this account the Port Lincoln natives 
are compelled sometimes to range up and down the sea-coast, 
looking for fish; sometimes to travel over hill and dale, hunting 
and digging roots; and, during the driest months of the year, 
the impervious, scrubby deserts are traversed by them, for the 
purpose of procuring small game, in spite of excessive heat and 
want of water. To assuage the burnings of thirst, under such cir- 
cumstances, they resort to the expedient of covering their bodies 
with earth, which is said to cool them, and answer the same 
purpose as drinking water. Fifteen to twenty miles is about the 
distance they travel in a day, the men often taking circuitous 
roads, while the women and children, many of whom have to be 
carried, are taken straight to the intended camping place, under 
the protection and guidance of one or more men. They seem 
never in a hurry to start in the morning, and it usually requires 
a great deal of talking and urging, on the part of the more eager, 
before a movement is made. When airived at the camp, which 
is always some time before sunset, the first thing to be done is to 
make a fire and roast the small animals that the men may have 
killed (kangaroo, and other large game, being roasted on the 
spot where it is killed, and, what is not eaten then, carried piece- 
meal to the camp.) After the meat is consumed, the women pro- 
duce the roots or fruit picked up by them during the day; and 
this dessert also over, the rest of the evening is spent in talking, 
singing, or dancing. In summer and fine weather, they only put 
a few branches on the ground, in a semi-circular shape, to serve 
as a breakwind; but, in rainy weather, they construct huts of 
sheoak branches, in the shape of a deep niche, giving them as 
much pitch as possible to promote the running down of the 
water. A fire is always kept burning in firont of the hut to 
keep their feet warm during the night; and, in cold weather, 
each individual has a small heap of burning coals in front, and 
at the back; as the least shifting will bring them in close contact 
with these coals, it frequently happens that they bum them- 
selves severely. The length of time that ihey stay in a camp 


depends partly on the locality, partly on the quantity of food netr 
it. There are in the Port Lincoln district many isolated welb 
and holes in rocks containing water; while, for thirty or mon 
miles round, there may not be a drop to be found; so that the 
natives are compelled to resort to the same camp so long as they 
remain in the neighbourhood. Again, on fiavourable fishing 
grounds, they will sometimes protract their stay in one euap 
from ten days to a fortnight, but never longer. As they travd 
much more in summer than in winter, they change their camping 
places more frequently during that season. Each family oociq)ieB 
a separate hut; and, if there be any young unmarried men, thqr 
sleep apart in a hut of their own. 


The Aborigines of this portion of the province are divided into 
two distinct classes, viz., the Mattiri, and Karraru people. This 
division seems to have remained among them from time imme- 
morial, and has for its object the regulation of marriages; none 
being allowed within either of these classes, but only between 
the two; so that if a husband be Mattiri, his wife must be 
Karraru, and vice versd. The distinction is kept up by the 
children taking invariably the appellation of that class to whicb 
their mother belongs. There is not an instance of two Mattiri 
or Karraru being married, although they do not seem to consider 
less virtuous connections between parties of the same class 
incestuous. There are of course other limitations to marriage 
between nearly related people besides this general distinction; 
but it is very difficult to ascertain them, on account of the innu- 
merable grades of consanguinity that arise from polygamy, 
aud from frequent interchanging and repudiating of wives. 
Besides, friendship among the natives assumes always the forms 
and names of relationship, which renders it almost impossible to 
find out the diflference between real or merely adopted relatives. 
The mode of marrying is the most unceremonious in the world 
Long before a young girl arrives at maturity, she is affianced 
by her parents to some friend of theirs, no matter whether young 


or old, married or single, and as soon as she shows symptoms oi 
puberty, she is bid to follow him without any further ceremony, 
and without consulting her own inclinations. Fortunately for 
the young females, it will not unfrequently happen, that a 
jealous old matron violently opposes her husband dividing his 
affections between herself and her young rival, and thus compels 
him to transfer his claim to some young fellow who will gladly 
relieve him of his burden. It sometimes occurs that a young 
man, desperately in love, or fieuicying that his pretensions are 
well founded, takes a woman from another man by force; often 
killing the latter without any compunction, if he cannot other- 
wise effect his purpose. The loose practices of the Aborigines, 
with regard to the sanctity of matrimony, form the worst trait 
in their character; although the men are capable of fierce jealousy, 
if their wives transgress unknown to them, ye tthey frequently 
send them out to other parties, or exchange with a friend for a 
night; and, as for near relatives, such as brothers, it may almost 
be said that they have their wives in common. While the 
sending out of the women for a night seems to be regarded as an 
impropriety by the natives themselves, the latter practice is a 
recognised custom, about which not the least shame is felt A 
peculiar nomenclature has arisen from these singular connec- 
tions; a woman honours the brothers of the man to whom she is 
married with the indiscriminate name of husbands; but the men 
make a distinction, calling their own individual spouses yun- 
garas, and those to whom they have a secondary claim, by right 
of brotherhood, kartetis. Notwithstanding the early marriage 
of females, I have not observed that they have children at an 
earlier age than is common among Europeans. The number of 
children reared by each family is of course variable, but, in 
general, very limited, rarely exceeding four. If a mother have 
children in rapid succession, which, however, does not appear to 
be frequently the case, the young infant is killed by some other 
woman, who accompanies the mother on these occasions to a 
distance from the other natives. From the greater number 
of male children reared one may infer that not so many of them 


are kiUed at their birth as of the female sex. In extenuation of 
this horrible practice the women allege that they cannot suckle 
and carry two babies at once, while the men wash their hands in 
innocence by maintaining that they are never present at these 
murders, and that the women alone are to blame. Although 
both sexes are very fond of their living offspring, yet the 
mothers are very careless, often allowing their children to bum 
themselves so badly that there are few adults who have not a 
more or less disfiguring mark about them received during in£eaicy. 
The Aborigines have a simple method of naming their children, 
derived from the successive number of births by each mother. 
For instance: the first-bom child, if a male, is named Piri; if a 
female, Kartanya. The second, if a boy, Warri; if a girl 
Warruyu, and so on to the number of six or seven names for 
either sex. Besides these names, which are confined to more 
familiar use, corresponding exactly with our Christian names, 
each child receives the name of the place where it was bom. 
Both these names are retained through life, but in addition 
to them the males receive a third name about the age of puberty, 
with a great many mysterious and ceremonious observances, a 
description of which will be given further on. 


Although living in a healthy climate, and on wholesome food, 
yet the natives are not entirely free from diseases; those they 
are most subject to, besides wounds, are colds, diarrhoea, and 
headaches. They employ various external means with a view 
either of removing the disease or of affording temporal relief from 
pain, some of which seem appropriate enough. The principal of 
them are pressing or manipulating the patient's body, especially 
the abdomen, and even gently treading it with the feet; drawing 
the belt round the waist, and the bandage round the head, very 
tight; sprinkling with cold water in cases of fever or local 
inflammation; fomenting the anus with the previously heated 
green leaves of the currant tree, in cases of diarrhoea; bleeding 
on the lower arm for the relief of severe headache. The last- 


mentioned remedy is confined to the male sex, and by them very 
commonly resorted to during the hot season, even when in good 
health. None of the blood is allowed to drop on the ground, but 
it is carefully made to run on another man's body in such a 
manner &s to form a number of thin transverse lines, representing 
the appearance of a regular network. The object of this custom 
is partly to remove disease, as inflammation and headache, partly 
to promote the growth of young people, and preserve the vigour 
of older men. The women are on no accoimt allowed to bleed, or 
even to see the men when bled; and when the latter are 
exei-cising this secret privilege of theirs, the witama is sounded 
to give the women and unitiated young people notice not to 
approach. Independent of these empiricisms, which may bo 
applied by anybody, the Aborigines have doctors among them 
called Miutapas, who pretend that they can cure disease by 
sucking it out of the body. If the evil be general they apply 
their lips to the pit of the stomach, or if local to the part 
att*ecte<l, and after sucking a while they take out of their mouths 
a small piece of wood or bone, which they make the patient and 
bystandei-s believe to be the malady, sucked by them out of the 
body. Such is the superstition of these ignorant people that 
they not only firmly believe in this mummery, but also vehe- 
mently expostulate with you if you express a doubt, or hint that 
the mintapas have previously put the wood produced by them 
into their mouths. Among the tribes in the immediate vicinity 
of Port Lincoln the mintapas are rare, but the famous Kukata 
tril>o, to the north-west, are said to harbour many of such 
workers of minicles. External wounds are generally left to heal 
of their own accord, the most that they do to them is to wrap 
something very tightly round the injured part, to press the 
ailjoining parts occasionally, and sprinkle them with cold water 
if inttametl. The natives show a deal of sympathy with sick 
people, especially the women, who vent their feelings by a 
plentiful efiusion of tears and vigorous manipulation of the 
painful parts, while the patients, even in desperate cases, display 
very often a degree of stoical fortitude that old Zeno himself 
miij:ht have envied. 



It is a curious fact, as well as a strong proof of the degrade 
social condition of the aboriginal inhabitants of this coontr 
that they have no chief, or any persons of acknowledged superic 
authority among them. All grown-up men are perfectly equa 
and this is so well understood that none ever attempt to assum 
any command over their fellows; but whatever wishes they maj 
entertain with regard to the conduct and actions of others, the] 
must be expressed in the shape of entreaty or persuasion. Con 
siderable deference, however, is shown to the old men by th< 
younger generation, proceeding, perhaps, partly from the respecl 
which superior age and experience inspire, but greatly increascc 
and kept up by the superstitious awe of certain mysterious rites 
known only to the grown-up men, and to the knowledge <^ 
which the young people are only very gradually admitted. Tin 
three degrees of initiation through which the youths must pas 
form so many periods of their lives, and the appellation of th< 
character which each degree confers on them supersedes thei 
ordinary names during the time that intervenes between th 
ceremonies or immediately follows them. The first initiatioi 
takes place about the age of fifteen, when the boys assume th< 
title of Warrara. I have never witnessed the ceremoniej 
attending it, as the natives hitherto were very jealous o 
strangers being present, from fear that through them the womei 
and children might become acquainted with the mysteries prac 
tised. I have been told, however, that the boy is conductec 
from the camp blindfolded by one man styled the Yumbo, whoe< 
duty it is to attend the warrara during the whole ceremony a 
some remote place, which must be screened from the eyes of th< 
women and children, who remain behind. When arrived at th< 
spot chosen he is laid down on the ground and covered over witl 
skins, and the yumbo sits down by his side to keep watch ovei 
him. The rest of the company now prepare a number of smal 
whips (puUakalli), to the end of which a small chip of woo< 
about ten inches long and half-an-inch broad is attached; b; 


twisting the string of this whip, and swinging it rapidly through 
the air, a sudden and piercing sound is produced; not unlike the 
report of an air-gun. Next, two men procure a heap of green 
boughs, and hide themselves in it, in front of the spot where the 
boy is lying, and about twenty paces from it; one of the adults 
then opens a vein in his arm, causing the blood to run on the 
warrant's head, fietce, and shoulders, and a few drops into his 
mouth. The latter is then told to uncover his eyes, in order to 
behold a most ludicrous and grotesque spectacle. While one aged 
man hmns a slow and monotonous tune, and three or four others 
crack the above-described whips (with dire grimaces and furious 
gesticulations), a slight rustling, which gradually grows louder, 
is heard among the heap of branches, until at last a veritable 
black leaps out of them, all fours, biting his beard, wildly rolling 
his eyes, and assuming altogether an expression and position si- 
milar to that of a tiger, just in the act of pouncing upon his prey. 
At each crack of the whips, the man drops down upon his face, 
moving neither head nor foot, as if he were dead; but gradually 
recovering, he raises his head, gives a deep scowl on all around, 
and throwing now and then some dust about him, slowly moves 
forward, until another crack is heard, and he drops down again. 
When arrived at the spot where the warrant is sitting, he leaves 
the arena, making room for the other man still hidden among the 
boughs, and who now repeats exactly the same antics: hereupon, 
all present crowd round the poor warrant, giving him a number 
of precepts for his future conduct, accompanied by awful threa- 
tenings and severe thumps on his chest and sides. Although 
they assure him that by all this no harm is meant, but that his 
own good is solely intended, my informant has seen big tears run 
down a boy*s cheek. The precepts that a warrara is required to 
observe are these: Not to associate any longer with his mother, 
or the other women, and the children, but to keep company with 
the men; to have no quarrels with the women, especially not to 
waddy, spear, or otherwise ill-treat them; to abstain from for- 
bidden meats, such as lizards, &c.; and not to betray what he has 

seen and heard on the present occasion; and that if he did not 



observe these injunctions, they should spear him, throiwr him into 
the fire, or do other dreadful things to him. In the course of the 
day during the early part of which the ceremony has been 
performed, the warrara is covered all over with human blood, 
and on the following morning he is ceremoniously introduced to 
the women. For this purpose, every man provides himself with 
a handful of green grass, enclosing in it a few live coals, so as to 
cause a thick smoke, and they then march in a long single line 
(having the warrara in the middle), waving the smoking grass, 
and continually shouting "Erri, Erri," to the encampment of the 
women, who during the preceding night have slept separate from 
the men. On their arrival in front of the women, after describing 
a wide circle once or twice, they draw up in a solid body, and 
throw the smoking grass in a heap. This is carried to one of the 
women who has been especially appointed to receive the warrara, 
and the latter is conducted backwards to her by his yumbo or 
attendant, and made to sit down on the heap of grass. She then 
dries, and rubs with her cloak the back of the warrara, which 
has been previously covered again with blood; and in conclusion, 
one of the little boys chases him through a lane formed by the 
body of men,running after him, shouting, and beating two waddies 
together. For three or more months after this ceremony, the 
warrara must keep his face blackened with charcoal, speak in 
low whispers, and avoid the presence of women. 

To illustrate how early, and systematically, the native chil- 
dren are trained to view these ceremonies with feelincrs of 
awe, it may be mentioned, that they are never allowed to 
approach the spot where a warrara has been made; if such a 
place should happen to fall in the line that the men are travel- 
ling, the little boys are directed to take a round, in order to 
avoid the sacred spot. 

About the tif^e of sixteen or seventeen, the second degree, that 
of a Pardnapa, is conferred on every male. On the momino^ 
agreed upon by the men (which is studiously kept secret from the 
women and children), the appointed attendant of the pardnapa, 
named Yanmurru, gives the first signal, by embracing the lad 


and shouting ** Pti, P6." Instantly, all the women of the class 
that the pardnapa happens to belong to, whether matteri, or 
karrani, jump up, and (apparently with reluctance, but in reality 
gladly and jo3^ully), each touches the shoulders and necks of the 
men of the same class, in order to express their entire approval 
of the men's intention, to raise a boy of their class to a higher 
station in life. The women are then directed to move on, while 
the men tarry behind to procure green boughs; and on their over- 
taking the women, they trot past them in a line, keeping the 
pardnapa in the middle, waving their boughs and shouting 
" Pti, P6." They then separate again, the women to gather roots 
or fruits and the men to hunt; which appears to bo an essential 
part of the ceremony. A scrubby district is chosen, and effectu- 
ally scoured by an extensive line of the hunters; and great 
numbers of wallaby and rats fall by their well-aimed waddies. 
The pardnapa, although present, takes no part in the hunt ; but 
goes unarmed. About noon they retire to the nearest watering- 
place, and after roasting and consuming the game, the pardnapa 
is ordered to withdraw, accompanied by those lads who last 
underwent the same ceremony. A circumciser (Yulli) is then 
appointed ; some of the company cover themselves with dust, 
biting their beards, grunting, and leaping wildly about, suddenly 
seize on one of the number present, place him on their shoulders, 
and carry him a little distance ; where they lay him down on his 
back, and with great earnestness endeavour to persuade him to 
undertake the office. As it appears to be considered an honour 
by the natives, to be chosen for one of the offices connected with 
their ceremonies, it is generally conferred on a visitor from a 
distance should one be present, who, with pretended reluctance, 
pleads many reasons why he should not have been appointed, 
such as " want of skill or nerve to perform the cruel operation," 
that he " came to see his friends, and by no means expected to 
have been thus distinguished," &c., all of which is easily overruled 
by the general voice, as it appears to proceed more from custom 
than real modesty. A tree of moderate height is then divested 
of its branches, and one of the men takes his place in the fork of 


it, while the rest crowd round it, placing their hands and heads 
against its stem, so that their backs assume a horizontal position 
and present a kind of platform. As soon as it is announced that 
the pardnapa is brought back from his hiding-place, which is 
always done blindfold, the whole mass utter an unearthly soond 
which bears some resemblance to a distant moaning, and during 
the performance of the operation keep grinding their teeth. The 
pardnapa is placed backwards on the altar or platform formed by 
the backs of the men, his arms and legs are stretched out and 
held fast, and the man sitting in the fork of the tree descends and 
sits down on his chest, so that he is utterly unable to move one 
limb of his body. A person well acquainted with the operation, 
after drawing the foreskin properly forward and causing the cir- 
cumciser to make only the first incision, completes the business 
very delibemtely with a chip of quartz; while some charm, 
supposed to have the power of allaying pain, is rapidly pro- 
nounced by a few lookers-on. The men then draw up in a line, 
left foot forward and both hands filled with dust, and gradually 
move towards the pardnapa, who is now allowed to open bis eyes. 
They do not place one foot before the other in moving, but set 
their feet alternately only a few inches further, so that the left 
foot always remains foremost. At each movement, which is per- 
formed simultaneously by all, each man throws a little dust into 
the air, and all of them have, during this parade, their beaixls in 
their mouths. In conclusion, every one beats and thumps the 
poor pardnapa to his heart's desire, enjoining him secrecy with 
regard to his newly-acquired mysterious knowledge, but assuring 
him all the while that they mean no harm. On the completion 
of the ceremony, the men conclude the festive day by another 
wallaby hunt. The pardnapa, whose hair has previously been 
allowed to grow to a great length, now has it secured on the 
cro^vn of his head in a cap of net- work manufactured of opossum's 
hair; and over the pubes he wears a fringe or tassel made of the 
same material: these sacred badges are worn for many months 
after the operation, and when the cap is laid aside, the hair is 
still preserved, and sufiered to fall down in long matted locks. 


Another operation, peculiar to the Aborigines of Port Lincoln, 
is also performed at this period, though without any particular 
ceremony. It consists of a cut, with a chip of quartz, from the 
orifice of the penis, along its lower side down to the scrotum, 
thus laying the passage open in its whole length. The object of 
this strange mutilation I have never been able to ascertain. In 
support of a practice so essentially barbarous, the natives have 
nothing to say more than that " it was observed by their fore- 
fathers, and must therefore be upheld by themselves." 

The third and most important degree in these superstitious 
mysteries is taken about the age of eighteen, which allows the 
youths to take the name of Wilyalkinyis. I have seen this cere- 
mony performed twice, and am therefore enabled to give a more 
detailed account of it. A day or two previous, Indanyanas, a 
sort of sponsors, are appointed, whose duty it is to perform the 
customary rites on the wilyalkinyis. The appointment is made 
by one person laying the indanyana backwards in his lap, when 
several others come round and entreat him to assume the office ; 
a distinction that he all the while protests to be very averse to. 
As the festive ceremonies of the Aborigines always take place in 
summer, when great numbers of them are collected, and as none 
have any command over the rest, a great deal of eloquence and 
mutual urging is required to put the lazy multitude into motion; 
80 that the rites which could be conveniently gone through in 
one hour, generally occupy the greatest part of the day. The 
initiation of wilyalkinyis commences with their being taken 
blindfold and unawares from the camp, to the pretended great 
sorrow of the women, who immediately set up a feigned lamenta- 
tion; while the youths are conducted by their sponsors to a short 
distance. Here the latter station themselves for at least one 
hour in a circle, shutting the youths' eyes with both hands, and 
uttering simultaneously at intervals of about ten minutes a long 
monotonous wail, which may, perhaps, be represented as near as 
I>ossible by these characters : — Yai-a-ay. The lads are next led 
still further from and out of sight of the camp, laid flat on the 
ground and covered up with cloaks; after lying there for another 


hour, two men procure a number of green boughs, the boys lie 
again raised on their feet, but still blindfolded, by their indan- 
yanas, and all the rest of the men range themselves in a half- 
circle. Placing themselves opposite to the open side of the 
semicircle, and assuming the attitudes and gestures of violent 
rage, the two men with the boughs throw them over the heads of 
the wilyalkinyis, which the rest accompany with beating of 
waddies and uttering a number of short shouts, dwelling only on 
the last, every time that a branch falls to the ground, in this 
manner — Y^, yd, ye, yay. The lads are now laid on the green 
boughs and covered up again, when the company very leisurely 
and deliberately commence preparing chips of quartz for tattooing 
the wilyalkinyis, and inventing new names by which they are 
to be called during their future lives. This last-mentioned busi- 
ness is always attended with great difficulty, as the new name 
must not only be agreeable to their ideas of euphony, but also 
quite original, or such as has liot previously belonged to any other 
l)erson. In most cases these names are roots of verbs, augmented 
by the termination -alta, or -ulta, according to the terminating 
vowel of the dissyllabic root. Whether these endings affect the 
meaning of the words in any way, must remain a matter of specu- 
lation, as they never occur but in proper names. The natives 
have no objection to be assisted in the invention of names, but 
they will be careful to select out of the number mentioued to them, 
only such as they think are appropriate and new. Everything 
being prepared, several men open veins in their lower arms, while 
the young men are raised to swallow the fii*st drops of the blood: 
they are then directed to kneel on their hands and knees, so as to 
give a horizontal position to their backs, which are covered all 
over with blood: as soon as this is sufficiently coagulated, one 
person marks with his thumb the places in the blood, where the 
incisions are to be made, namely, one in the middle of the neck, 
and two rows from the shoulders down to the hips, at intervals 
of about a third of an inch between each cut. These are named 
l^Ianka, and are ever after held in such veneration, that it would 
be deemed a great profanation to allude to them in the presence 


of women. Each incision requires several cuts wiUi the blunt 

chips of quartz to make them deep enough^ and is then carefully 

drawn apart; yet the poor fellows do not shrink, or utter a 

sound; but I have seen their friends so overcome by sympathy 

with their pain, that they made attempts to stop the cruel 

proceedings, which was of course not allowed by the other men. 

During the cutting, which is performed with astonishing expedition, 

as many of the men as can find room crowd around the youths, 

repeating in a subdued tone, but very rapidly, the following 

formula: — 

" KAQwakA kinya mirra mArra 
Kdrndo kinya mirra mArra 
Pilbirri kinya mArra mArra." 

This incantation, which is derived from their ancestors, is appa- 
rently void of any coherent sense; the object of its repetition, 
however, is to alleviate the pain of the young men, and to prevent 
dangerous consequences from the dreadful lacerations. After the 
incisions are completed on all the youths, they are allowed to 
stand up and open their eyes, and the first thing they behold is 
two men coming towards them, stamping, biting their beards, 
and swinging the witama with such fury as if they intended to 
dash it against their heads, but upon approaching, they content 
themselves with placing the string of that instrument round their 
necks in succession. Several fires are also made to windward at 
this time, so that the smoke may be blown upon the young men. 
In commemoration of the ordeal gone through, the wilyalkinyis 
are presented with some badges, such as a new girdle round the 
waist, spun of human hair, a tight bandage round each upper 
ann, a string of opossum hair round the neck, the end of which 
descends down the back, where it is fastened to the girdle, a bunch 
of green leaves over the pubes, and at last their faces, arms and 
breasts are painted black. In conclusion, all the men crowd once 
more round them, each endeavouring to give them some good 
advice for the proper regulation of their future conduct; the main 
topics I understood to bo these: to abstain from quarrelling and 
fighting, to forbear talking aloud, and to avoid the women. The 


last two injunctions are scrupulously observed till the men release 
them about four or five months after, during which time they live 
and sleep separate from the camp, and speak in whispers. The 
releasing of the wilyalkinyis consists merely in tearing the string, 
the symbol of silence, from their necks, and covering them over 
with blood, in the manner that the men adopt at their bleeding 
ceremonies; and after that they may be looked upon as perfect 
adepts in all manner of secrets and admissible to all the privileges 
of grown-up men. The women and children, as has been 
mentioned already, are by no means allowed to see any of the 
above ceremonies. They are on those occasions encamped out of 
sight of the men; but if their business, in fetching water, wood, or 
anything else, should bring them within sight, they must cover 
their heads with cloaks and walk in a stooping posture. Any 
impertinent curiosity on their part is pimishable with death, 
according to the ancient custom; and I have been told that 
instances have occurred where this dreadful punishment was 
actually inflicted. As one more proof what mighty importance 
the Aborigines attach to their absurd mysteries, I may mention 
that it is deemed very ignominious abuse, if a person of a higher 
degree upbraids any one with his still occupying a lower station; 
warrara purra (still a boy of the first degree only), pardnapa 
purra (only of the second degree), are very offensive expressions. 


The opinions of the natives with regard to supernatural things 
and agencies, are very peculiar and interesting. They have as 
clear a perception of the immateriality and immortality of the 
soul as could have been expected from them. In order to 
illustrate the former, they describe it as very small, so minute 
that it could pass through a crack or crevice; and when a man 
dies, his soul goes to an island, where it lives in a state so 
ethereal that it requires no food. Some say that this island is 
situated towards the east, others towards the west; so that they 
either do not agree about the locality, or believe in the existence 
of more than one receptacle for departed souls. On its passage to 


its new habitation a species of red-bill, a bird frequentirg the 
sea-beach, and noted for its shrill shrieks during the night, 
accompanies it. It appears to be a modem idea of theirs, adopted 
since their knowledge of the existence of a white race of men, 
that their souls will at a future period become white men. 
However, such is their belief, and all white people are in their 
opinion no more than the re-incorporated souls of their fore- 
fathers. So firmly persuaded are, or at least were they of this, 
that they even ventured to identify some settlers with natives 
long since dead, giving the former the names of the latter. The 
last words of Ngarbi, a Port Lincoln native, who was executed in 
Adelaide, were, that "by-and-by he should become a white 
man,'' although he had been made acquainted with more correct 
views. These two ap^mrently contradictory opinions, that an 
island receives the souls of the departed and that they reappear 
as white men, may perhaps we quite compatible by the natives 
assuming that the island is only their temporary abode; which is 
the more likely, as they certainly believe in the pre-existence of 
the souls of black men, and also assign the island as their previous 
abode. I do not think that originally they had any idea of 
retribution in a future life for actions done in this, but they seem 
to think that the fate of man in this world is in some degree de- 
pendent on his good or bad conduct. The following anecdote will 
best illustrate their views on the subject: — It was reported by a 
native that at or near Streaky Bay a black man had been shot 
by a whaling party for spearing a dog belonging to them, and 
which had been furiously attacking the native; some time after, 
the crew of a whaler wrecked in that neighbourhood came over- 
land to Port Lincoln, and when it was hinted that perhaps one of 
them had shot the black man, the natives at once assigned that 
act of cruelty as the cause of the shipwreck. The most promi- 
nent in the superstitions of the Port Lincoln Aborigines is their 
belief in the existence of a fiendish monster, named Mjirralye, 
who is described as a man who assumes the shape and power of 
a bird, so that he can fly through the air. He is most feared 
during the night-time, when he is supposed to pounce upon hi» 


sleeping victims, either killing them by eating their hearts out of 
their bodies, or doing them some other grievous injury; he takes 
care, however, not to leave any marks of his ravages, and it is 
therefore only from the effects, such as pain and illness, that the 
sufferers know of his nightly visits. The death of children and 
the loss of sight are usually ascribed to Mkrralye, if no other 
palpable cause can be assigned. The Marralye, it is to be ob- 
served, has no individual and permanent existence, but is merely 
the mask or disguise temporarily assumed by wicked men, parti- 
oularly the Eukata tribe, to enable them to execute their mis- 
ehievous intentions. Another kind of fabulous beings are the 
Puskabidnis, whose number seems to be unlimited; they are 
represented as black men of an enormous size, quite naked, and 
armed only with waddies; although always bent on bloodshed 
and murder, they are not so dangerous as the M4rralye, since by 
vigilance and courage they may be conquered. At night the 
men never move from the camp without taking a spear to pro- 
tect themselves, in case any of these lurking assassins should be 
about. Some of the natives boast of having killed Purkabidnis; 
but I apprehend that they have mistaken black stumps of trees 
or real natives for these beings, an error that superstitious timidity 
will occasionally betray them into. I recollect that two natives 
once pointed out to me a dark object in a thickly-timbered 
locality, and at several hundred yards' distance, that looked 
exactly like a black man in a crouching posture; they were 
satisfied that it was a Purkabidni, and not only strongly objected 
to go with me to examine it, but also endeavoured to prevent my 
going by myself: however, upon nearer approach, it turned out 
to be what I expected to find, namely, a burnt stump, and when 
I laid my hand upon it they burst out laughing, acknowledging 
themselves for once mistaken, but nowise shaken in their firm 
persuasion that such monsters really existed, and had been seen 
by them on other occasions. That natives, wandering too far 
into the territories of strange tribes, are sometimes slain as Pur- 
kabidnis is not imlikely, and rendered i)robable from the follow- 
ing assount: — Our Port Lincoln natives, when asked if they 


could give any information of two black men who had gone with 
Mr. Eyre to the far west, and returned from thence by them- 
selves, recollected having heard that two strange young men,, 
carrying a peculiar kind of nets or netbags, had been killed by 
the Kukat&s, in the belief of tkeir being Purkabidnis. 

The worst kind of superstition, and one that does compara- 
tively as much mischief among the Aborigines as the belief in 
witchcraft ever did in Europe, is the idea that one person may, 
from spite or other motives, kill another party by a peculiar 
manipulation during the night, described as a poking with the 
fingers in the side of the obnoxious person, which will cause 
illness, and ultimately death. The evidence by which the guilty 
party is discovered is generally the deposition of the dying 
person, who is supposed to know the man who causes his death. 
In all cases of death that do not arise from old age, wounds, or 
other equally palpable causes, the natives suspect that unfair 
means have been practised ; and even where the cause of death is 
sufficiently plain, they sometimes will not content themselves 
with it, but have recourse to an imaginary one, as the following 
case will prove: — A woman had been bitten by a black snake, 
across the thumb, in clearing out a well; she began to swell 
directly, and was a corpse in twenty-four hours; yet, another 
woman who had been present when the accident occurred, stated 
that the deceased had named a certain native as having caused 
her death. Upon this statement, which was in their opinion 
corroborated by the circumstance that the snake had drawn no 
blood from the deceased, her husband and other friends had a 
fight with the accused party and his friends ; a reconciliation, 
however, took place afterwards, and it was admitted on the part 
of the aggressors that they hail been in error with regard to the 
guilty individual; but nowise more satisfied as to the bite of the 
snake being the true cause of the woman's death, another party 
was now suddenly discovered to be the real oflfender, and accord- 
ingly war was made uix>n him and his partisans, till at last the 
matter was dropped and forgotten. From this case, as well as from 
frequent occurrences of a similar nature, it appears evident that 


thirst for revenge has quite as great a share in these foul accusa- 
tions as superstition. Ignorant of tbe Supreme disposer of life 
and death, too little reflective to ascribe their bei^eavements to a 
blind fatality, yet susceptible of intense feeling, and superstitioiis 
withal, it is, perhaps, not so very wonderful that they should 
seek the cause of their sorrows within the compass of human 
agency. Many other superstitions are entertained by the natives, 
which though not of an equally dangerous tendency, still ascribe 
undue and mischievous power to man. Thus it is maintained 
that remote tribes of blacks, especially the Kukatas to the north- 
west, have the power of producing excessive rain, as well as 
insufiemble heat and drought, and also of causing plagues thai 
kill other tribes by wholesale. To avert heavy rains they employ 
sometimes a long string of seemingly extempore imprecaticms, 
beginning every sentence with the interjection " 86,"* expressive 
of anger, pronouncing the first words rapidly, and chanting — 

"Sd, Wattidirritye yaki, yaki : 
Sii, Puyu warraitya, kano, kan5. 
Sd, yakkirkurraitya, malo, malo, 

^ »» 

and many others, the meaning of which is unknown. The 
appearance of a comet or any natural phenomenon in the 
heavens is regarded as the sure harbinger of death, and fills 
them with awe and terror. In 1843, when the great comet 
appeared, some acknowledged to have been so frightened that 
they crept into caves among the rocks. 

The Aborigines have a great number of fabulous traditions 
handed down to them by their forefathers, all of which are 
characterised by a high degree of improbability and mon- 
strosity, as will be sufliciently apparent from a few that I shall 
mention: — 

I. — Pulydllana was in days of yore a great man, who conferred 
on succeeding generations the benefit of having given names to 
many localities in the southern and western parts of this dis- 
trict, which they retain to this day. He had, however, the mis- 
fortune to lose both his wives, who absconded from him — an 

* This is the only instance of a sibilant occurring in the language. 


event that by no means contributed to keep him in good 
humour. After a great deal of fruitless search, he at last hit 
upon their track, and, following it, overtook them somewhere 
about Cape Catastrophe, where they were both killed by him. 
They were then converted into stone, together with their 
children, and all may be seen there at the present day in the 
shape of rocks and islands ; and their breathing or groaning be 
heard in a cave, into which the roaring sea rushes a long way 
underground. Puly^ana himself was subsequently raised into 
the sky, at or near Pu}rundu (the native name for Cape Sir 
Isaac), where he is sometimes seized with violent fits of rage. 
On such occasions he raves and storms about among the clouds, 
and keeps shouting most lustily, like a native when under the 
influence of violent passion, thus producing what is commonly 
called thunder. He is armed with waddies, which he used to 
throw at the natives, particularly the pardnapas, whom he fre- 
quently cut through in the middle, hurling the upper and lower 
parts of the body in opposite directions. Their ancestors, how- 
ever, entreated him to spare the pardnapas, and hit the sheoaks 
instead; and this prayer prevailing with him, he now vents his 
itige on them. The lightning is also his production, being 
caused by the sudden jerking or opening of his legs in his 
furious gestures. 

II. — The large red species of kangaroo is not to be found at 
Port Lincoln, although it is said to be plentiful in the north; 
and, from the following legend, it would appear that one of the 
s]>ecies had found its way to the south of this district: — Eupirri 
was the name of this animal, which is said to have been of a 
stupendous size, and to have devoured all those who attempted 
to spear it. Its very appearance inspired the natives of old 
with overwhelming terror, so that they lost all presence of mind, 
flinging away the wooden lever (midla) with the spear, which 
was thereby, of course, prevented from taking effect. At last, 
liowever, a match was found for the monster kangaroo in two 
renowned hunters, named Pilla and Indya, who, falling upon its 
track near Port Lincoln, on the range stretching to the north. 


followed and overtook it on Mount Nilarro, situated about thirty 
miles from that place. Finding it asleep, they at once attacked 
it, but before they could quite kill it their spears became 
blunt; a disappointment that must have soured their tempers 
a good deal, as it caused a violent quarrel between them^ 
in which Pilla stabbed his antagonist with one of the blunt 
spears in many places, while he himself received a severe blow 
over his nose with a midla: becoming reconciled, the friends 
again attacked and killed the Kupirri, and, on opening it, found 
to their utter astonishment the dead bodies of their comrades 
previously devoured by this monster kangaroo. But being no 
less skilled in the medical art than in hunting, they succeeded in 
reviving and healing these unfortunate men, and they all imme- 
diately betook themselves to roasting and devouring the Kupirri 
in return. The feast over, and their bodies comfortably greased 
with the fat of the animal, they proceeded in search of their 
mourning wives and families, to acquaint them with the happy 
termination of their disastrous adventures. The two heroes 
were afterwards metamorphosed into, and gave origin to two 
species of animals, the opossum and native cat, retaining as sucb 
not only their names, but also the scars of the wounds tliat thev 
had inflicted on each other in the shape of a furrow down the 
former s nose, and of a number of white dots sprinkled over the 
skin of the latter. 

III. — Between Coffins and Sleaford Bays there is a line of 
bare, white sandhills, erroneously laid down in Flindere* maj) as 
white cliff's. These masses of drifting' sand have most probablv 
been piled up by the westerly gales, which often now alter their 
shape and position; but, according to a tradition of the natives, 
they were raised by Mampi and Tatta, two of their ancestors. 
A great fire, coming from the ocean, spread far and wide on the 
sea-coast, and seemed likely to envelop the whole country in 
its flames. Deliberating how to prevent such a calamity, it 
occurred to the abovementioned personages, that the best method 
of quenching the fire would be to bury it; they according v 
betook themselves to the task, and, in executing it, threw up 


those sandhills which testify to this day the vastness of the 

IV. — Renowned as a fierce warrior and immoderate lover is 
Welu, who, being foiled in his amours by the Nauo people, 
determined to exterminate the whole tribe. He succeeded in 
spearing all the men except Karatantya and Yangkunu, two 
young men, who flew for shelter into the top of a tree. Welu 
climbed after them with the intent to murder them also; but 
they had the cunning to break the branch on which he was 
standing, when, tumbling headlong to the ground, a tamed 
native dog seized and killed him. He has since been changed 
into the bird that now bears his name, and which in English is 
called the curlew, while the memory and names of the two 
young men who escaped his fury are perpetuated by two species 
of hawk. 

V. — A small kind of lizard, the male of which is called Ibirri, 
and the female Waka, is said to have divided the sexes in the 
human species; an event that would appear not to be much 
approved of by the natives, since either sex has a mortal hatred 
against the opposite sex of these little animals, the men always 
destroying the waka and the women tHe ibirri. 

The natives have many more similar tales among them; the 
above, however, which seemed to possess more of an interest than 
any of the rest, will be sufficient to show their monstrous and in 
every respect ridiculous character. 


Singing and dancing are the favourite and almost only amuse- 
ments of the Aborigines of these parts. They have a variety of 
songs, all consisting of only two or three verses each, as for 
instance the following: — 


La Pirri mirrinji 
Tyinda kAtotyiU 
KjmwiiTi wirrina. 

Tynird tyurri tymrAni 
PalU palUi |MdUnii 
Kinni kaitti ogangkAli 

In singing these and similar songs, each verse is repeated twice 
or even three times, and when they have finished the last verse 



they begin afresh with the first one. If the proper metre or 
number of cadences be but obsei'ved, they care little or nothing 
for the meaning of the words of the song. Most songs now in 
vogue with them are derived from distant tribes, and I believe 
that they themselves understand very few if any of them; at aU 
events they cannot explain their meaning, and seem to consider 
it quite unnecessary trouble to inquire into the matter. The 
tunes of their songs vary also considerably, some being alow and 
grave, others quick and lively; all of them, however, are rather 
monotonous, though not unpleasant, requiring only a gradual and 
regular rise and fall of the voice. They are very exact in keeping 
time, and to prevent any confusion in this respect they have 
recourse to their waddies, striking two of them together. The 
conclusion of a song is indicated by singing the last verse slowly 
in a subdued voice, suffering it gradually to sink until the last 
note becomes barely audible. 

For dancing the mild summer evenings are generally chosen; if 
the moon be shining all the time so much the better, but if not, 
the deficiency is made up by blazing fires. Every one enga^ng 
in the dance ornaments his person by painting two white lines on 
each side from the shouldei^ down the breast to the west, a circle 
round each eye, a broad streak down the nose, two or three pairs 
of stripes across each upper arm, and tying a bunch of green 
boughs inclining downward round each leg a litle above the knee. 
If they have any white down of birds they paste a row of it 
across the forehead and along the margin of the hair from one 
ear to the other, which gives them the appearance of women in 
nightcaps. In their hands the dancers hold a string about four 
feet long, seemingly for the purpose of balancing their bodies 
properly. They have various kinds of dances, but the one most 
approved and practised consists in jumping sideways, elevating 
the arm on the side to which they are jumping and declining it 
on the opposite side. The performers drawing up in a somewhat 
irregular line, and at such distances from each other as will allow 
sufficient space for the proper display of their antics, v&ry 
gradually advance to the front of the singers, when they again 

FIOHTS. 243 

fall back to the rear. Each dance does not last above ten minutes, 
the motions of the body being so violent as to completely exhaust 
them in a short time. 

The women, though commonly engaged in singing, do not all 
join in the dance — ^never more than two or three at a time; nor 
are their jumps and motions of the arms so violent and grotesque 
as those of the men. They also keep their cloaks modestly about 
their persons, while the men are invariably in a state of nudity. 
But even this slight participation on the part of the fair sex never 
fails to heighten the amusement and increase the exertions of the 
men. At the conclusion of the dancing, the men, after resting 
some time at about forty yards distance from the singers, advance, 
dancing one by one, when one of the women meets each halfway, 
and accompanies him dancing to the singers, where the man sits 
down. At the point where the two meet, the male dancer makes 
a short pause stamping with one foot several times on the ground, 
l>robably by way of compliment to the lady, after which they 
both jump away together. These evening amusements are often 
kept up to a late hour, frequently long after midnight, particularly 
if a great number are collected, or if two different tribes meet, when 
they will do their best to entertain each other with the number 
and variety of their songs and skill in performing. 

Happiness and joyous pleasure are on such occasions depicted 
on every face, and one could scarcely believe that those good- 
humoured faces could ever be distorted with expressions of violent 
rage, or that gentle deportment changed into passionate frenzy; 
yet such is sometimes the case, especially during the hot season, 
when they evince a degree of irritability that during the dull 
winter months one would think their natures strangers to. 


Their fights may be properly divided into two classes, namely, 

those that arise suddenly and from trivial causes, and those that 

are premeditated, having some real or fancied grievance for their 

foundation. Although the behaviour of the natives towards each 

other is in general characterised by a good deal of courtesy and 

S 2 


goodnature, yet it will happen that friends disagree. The most 
common causes of quarrels are — women not conducting them- 
selves as they should do, or are often um*easonably required to do; 
children quarrelling and hurting each other, thereby setting their 
parents at variance; or any of the men being overlooked in the 
distribution of food. The practice of dividing their provisicms 
with friends is so imiversal, that it is considered a mark of very 
great illiberality in any person not to do so. An angry word or 
offensive action about any of these or similar matters operates like 
an electric shock, and every onegrasps hisweapons,prepared to repel 
insult and aggression. Abusive language, though commonly made 
use of by women without any dangerous consequences, is rarely 
employed by men without ending in a fight; for though the fri^ods 
of the aggrieved party generally try to appease him, and even to 
hold him back by main force, they but seldom succeed. First, 
waddies are flung, and when these are expended the opponents 
close, seeking to batter each others' heads with midlas. Dreadful 
gashes are often inflicted with this instrument, from which the 
blood flows in streams, and the sufferers are sometimes insensible. 
Spears are next resorted to, when the women and children run in 
all directions, the former screaming and abusing the fierce and 
passionate men. Whether it is to give more effect to their wrathful 
utterings, or merely to make themselves heard through the uproar. 
I cannot say, but they always give vent to their feelings in a sort 
of chant, dwelling upon the last syllable of each word, and drop- 
ping the voice towards the end of every sentence. Should any 
of the combatants be severely woimded, a wail on the part of the 
women and his relatives soon becomes the prevailing noise, and 
gradually puts a stop to the fight; after it is over perhaps ever}" 
person that has been engaged in it is sorry that it has occurred, 
and the man who has inflicted a severe wound on his opponent 
will lament it as much and as sincerely as any of the rest. If any 
serious consequences should result from the fight, they generally 
cause another battle at a subsequent period, but if slight wounds 
and bruises be all, it is* never more mentioned, and the parties 
that to-day attacked each other with a fury, that nothing but 

FIGHTS. 245 

each opponent s life would seem to satisfy, will to-morrow be the 
best friends in the world. 

The regular premeditated battles of the natives are always 
known for weeks or months before to both parties; a con- 
venient place is fixed upon by one party, and messengei's are 
despatched to invite the enemy; these battles are generally 
caused by abduction, murder, or aggression with intent to take 
life, which usually originates in the before-mentioned supersti- 
tious belief of the aggressor, that the man whom he attacks has, 
by supernatural means, killed his relative that may lately have 
died. In such a case he selects several from among his friends, 
and rambles over the country fully determined to kill the sus- 
pected person wherever he meets him. Last summer two battles 
took place, one for murder committed, and the other for murder 
attempted. At the former both the murderer and the brother of 
the murdered were present, backed on either side by a great 
number of friends; it was agreed that the latter should aim two 
spears at the murderer, and that if neither took effect nor were 
returned the quarrel should be droi>ped. From the demonstra- 
tions and violent gestures of the warriors, such as jumping, run- 
ning, biting of beards and spears, shouting, and grunting, I fully 
antici[mted a general and bloody battle, but this was not the 
case. From each side the parties concerned ran forward, the one 
throwing a spear which was dexterously warded off by the other, 
and with that the fight ended. The other battle, for murder 
attempted, occurred in the town of Port Lincoln, to which the 
aggrieved party had been invited by messengers. On their 
arrival they marched up in a line two or three deep, each of 
them ornamented with white paint, and shavings resembling 
plumes in their hair, halting now and then and giving a simulta- 
neous shout. As soon as their evolutions were over, the other 
[nirty [>repared to return the salute, painting themselves hastily, 
and drawing up in single file. They marched to where the 
enemy had encamped, keeping step and walking at a quick but 
short }>ace, in fact, a sort of trot; going round the camp they 
drew up in a solid body, and holding their heads downwards 


uttered simultaneously one deep tremendous shout; after repeat- 
ing this several times they marched back to their own camp in 
the same order as they had arrived. The evening and great part 
of the night was spent in singing and dancing by both hostile 
parties alternately. Early the next morning the fight com- 
menced by eight men coming forward on either side with the 
customary inimical demonstrations of biting their beards and 
spears, but perfectly silent; forming themselves in opposite lines 
at a distance of about twenty paces, the combatants stood face to 
face and man to man, with legs spread out and firmly placed on 
the ground. Several spears had been thrown by each man, and 
warded off with great dexterity by merely bending the upper 
part of the body slightly to one side, and hitting the adversary's 
spear with the grubbing stick or reserved spears held in the left 
hand, when several of the party who had sent the challenge ran 
over to the other side in order to indicate, as I was told, that 
they wished the fight to end. One querulous old fellow, however, 
who had been the originator of the quarrel and who stood opposed 
to a young man of barely twenty years of age, seemed determined 
upon bloodshed; he threw several spears when the others had 
given over, and used the most provoking language, which was 
tartly returned by his young adversary. At length, however^ 
the old man was interrupted by his own friends, who gave his 
spear a knock every time he hooked it to the womniara. The 
skill of the natives in avoiding and parrying spears is really as- 
tonishing; I saw this old man, who is reputed by his fellows a 
famous warrior, take such sure aims at his opponent that I thought 
he could not miss him, yet every time the spears were diverted 
from their direction by the sticks in the young man's hand, and 
passed over his shoulder within a few inches of his ear. A steady, 
bold eye alone could insure such a result, and this is also the 
warlike quality that the natives most applaud and principally 
pride themselves upon. It has been said, I believe, that the 
Aborigines of this country are great cowards; it may be that 
they evince a want of courage when opposed to white men who 
are provided with superior arms, generally mounted on horseback. 

FIGHTS. 247 

and very probably supposed by them to be possessed of superior 
skill and courage also; but any one who has had opportunities of 
seeing the natives' battles would not come to any such conclu- 
sion. They are very sensitive on this point, deeming it a most 
degrading insult to be called a coward. That their fights seldom 
terminate fatally must be attributed partly to their skill in 
warding off the spears, and partly to the fact that they have no 
thirst for bloodshed. 

As the natives on the one hand are susceptible of an uncom- 
mon degree of hostile feeling, so also are they, on the other hand, 
(X)ssessed of sincere and deep sympathy, as is evinced in cases of 
severe illness, dangerous wounds, and especially after the death 
of any of their friends; they will, on such occasions, assemble and 
weep most bitterly, the females generally taking the lead. The 
loud lamentations simultaneously poured forth by them at such 
times may perhaps be looked upon as an hereditary custom, since 
they always cry together and make use of external means, such 
as rubbing the eyes or scratching the nose, to produce tears if the 
mournful disposition of the mind should not be sufficiently 
affected by the example of others. The cries or sobs are also, at 
the commencement of a wail, rather formal and apparently forced, 
leading one strongly to suspect that their desire for a mournful 
frame of mind is greater than their feelings warrant. Still, I am 
{)ersuaded that the natives feel keenly and regret sincerely the 
loss of their friends, for these reasons: They lament their decease 
for weeks and even months after the event; very frequently in 
the evening, on arriving at their resting places, when they are 
tired and may be supposed to be in mood suitable for recollection 
and reflection, one person will suddenly break out in slow and 
sorrowful cadences, gradually inducing all the others to follow 
his example; after a wail, they preserve for a while a demure 
silence, and exhibit every other symptom of persons in affliction. 
Never, upon any account, is the name of the deceased mentioned 
again for many years after, not from any superstition, but for the 
professed reason that their mournful feelings may not be excited, 
or, to use their own expression, '' that it may not make them cry 


too much." If they have occasion to allude to dead persons, it is 
done by circumlocutions, such as these: I am a iTvidower, father- 
less, childless, or brotherless, as the case may be, instead of saying: 
my wife is dead, my father, child, or brother is dead. If a death 
occurs among them in the bush, it is with great difficoltj 
that the name of the deceased can be ascei-tained. In such a ctae, 
the natives will remind you of incidents that may have happened 
in his lifetime, that he did such a thing, was present on such an 
occasion, &c., but no persuasion on earth will induce them to 
pronounce his name; and as a last reason for the sincerity of 
their sorrow, it may perhaps be mentioned that they will venture 
their own lives in avenging their departed friends if it is sus- 
pected that they have come by their deaths imfairiy. 

The mode of burial observed by the Port Lincoln natives is 
described by themselves as attended with many ceremonies, whidi 
are, however, sometimes dispensed with, as was the case with an 
old man, the only person that I have seen buried. A pit about 
five feet in depth, and only four feet in length, was dug; on the 
bottom some dry grass was spread, and on this the body was laid 
with legs bent upwards. The head was placed towards the west, 
a custom that I am informed is always observed, and is founded 
on their belief that the soul goes to an island in the east The 
body is covered with a kangaroo skin, and strong sticks are 
placed lengthwaj^s over the mouth of the grave, one end being 
stuck in the earth a little below the surface, and the other 
resting on the opposite edge of the grave. On tliese the earth 
is put so as to leave a vacuum between them and the body and 
to form a mound of earth over the grave. A few branches or 
bushes thrown carelessly round the mound complete the simple 

The Aborigines inhabiting the Peninsula of Port Lincoln are 
divided into several tribes, with two of whom tlie European 
settlers are in daily contact, namely, the Nauo and Pamkalla 
tribes. Besides these, three other tribes are mentioned by the 
natives as known to them: — the Nukunnus in the north-east, the 
Kukatas in the north-west, and the Ngannityiddis in the north. 


between the two last-mentioned of whom a few have now and 
then visited the settlement All these tribes seem in general to 
be on tolerably good terms with each other, at least it does not 
appear that there are any hereditary feuds between them, such as 
exist in other parts of the colony. It is true that the Kukatas 
are universally feared and abominated, but apparently more on 
account of their reputed skill in witchcraft and various other 
dangerous tricks than for their warlike qualities. Natives belong- 
ing to diflferent tribes, and not previously acquainted, are very 
shy for the first day or two after their meeting, avoiding and not 
addressing each other imless induced to do so by a third party, 
the convenient custom of formal introductions being as yet un- 
known to them. Any attempt at computing the number of the 
natives must be futile, as I have never heard of a whole tribe 
being collected together at one time; I should think, however, 
that in assuming each tribe as containing 200 souls the real num- 
ber would by no means be exceeded. The principal mark of 
<listinction between the tribes is difference of language or dialect ; 
where the tribes intermix greatly no inconvenience is experienced 
on this account, as every person understands, in addition to his 
own dialect, that of the neighbouring tribe; the consequence is 
that two persons commonly converse in two languages, just as an 
Englishman and German would hold a conversation, each person 
speaking his own language, but understanding that of the other 
as well as his own. This peculiarity will often occur in one 
family tlirough intermarriages, neither party ever thinking of 
changing his or her dialect for that of the other. Children do 
not always adopt the language of the mother, but that of the 
tribe among whom they liva The Pamkalla dialect, with which 
I have made myself principally acquainted, is spoken by the tribe 
of the same name, inhabiting the eastern coast of this peninsula 
from Port Lincoln northward probably as far as the head of 
Spencer s Gulf. The Nauo is spoken in the southern and western 
parts of this district, and seems to deviate from the Pamkalla by 
a broader and harsher pronunciation and different inflexions or 
terminations of the words, verbs as well as nouns; many words^ 

























however, are totally diflTerent. The foUowing examples wiD 
explain this more fully: — 







To the houae 


In order to go 

Both dialects terminate every word with a vowel, which makes it 
difficult for them to pronounce English correctly. Hence arise 
corruptions like these — knipy for knife, boatoo for boat, bullockj 
for bullock, Williamy for William, &c. The Pamkalla is a pecu- 
liarly soft and even melodious language when carefully and slowly 
pronounced, which the natives, however, seldom do, but on the 
contrary they often contract two words into one, or abbreviate 
long words, thereby completely spoiling the naturally pleasant 
effect. The women and small children pronounce by far the best. 
It is not well possible to describe the language within the limits 
of this report, so as to give to a person wholly unacquainted with 
it even an approximate idea of its structure, I shall therefore 
content myself with comprising the most striking peculiarities 
under the following heads: — 

1. The letters F, V, H, and all sibilants, do not occur in it. 

2. It has no articles, either definite or indefinite. 

3. It recognises no distinction of gender beyond that nece>- 
sarily contained in such words as father, mother, brother, sister, 
&c.; the pronoun pana answers for the three English pronouns, 
he, she, and it. 

4. It has no relative pronouns, the want of which is obviated 
by circumlocutions, or the use of demonstrative pronouns instead. 

5. Besides the singular and plural it has a dual number, to be 
used when only two persons or objects are the subject of con- 


6. Of the personal pronouns there are three distinct forms, ex- 
pressing different degrees of relationship between the person or 
persons spoken to or of, as, for instance, ngadli, we two (viz. 
brothers); nganinye, we two (parent and child); ngadlaga, we 
two (husband and wife), &c. 

7. There are no prepositions in this language, the deficiency 
being made up by a great variety of inflexions, or rather termin- 
ations of the nouns, inseparable from them, as, karnko, house; 
karnkungu, in the house; kamkuru, to the house; kamkotarri, 
beyond the house; kamkongunne, from the house; and many 
other similar terminations. 

8. The verb, though without a distinct passive voice, presents 
the peculiarity of a number of conjugations, indicating secondary 
relations of the actions expressed by the root of the verb — in 
other words, the conjugation from verbs neutral and active, reci- 
procal and continuative. This novel feature of the language 
renders the acquisition of it difficult, as it is only by experience 
that one learns to distinguish those conjugations really in use 
from those that might be formed but are not used. 

9. Another peculiarity, and poverty at the same time, is the 
absence of all numerals beyond three. 

The construction of sentences, and particularly the use of the 
moods of verbs, appears also very peculiar, but I am not suffi- 
ciently acquainted with this part of the language to venture a 















By SAMUEL GASON, Police Trooper. 


Is submitting this small volume to the public, I have little to urge in 
recommendation of it, further than to say that it is strictly accurate; 
a sojourn of over nine years in the Dieyerie country, and constant 
intercoui-se with the tribe, having familiarised me with their language, 
and their manners and customs. 

I deprecate criticism only as regards my notes on the construction of 
the language, which, unassisted by any works of reference, I have been 
able to base alone on the analogy of words, and, therefore, this part of 
my work may be defective, but I trust not so much so, but that it may 
form a foundation on which a philologist may build a more elevated 

The motives urging me to publication are twofold^-firstly, that I 
thought a record of the characteristics and tongue of a race fast dying 
out, might ])ossess an interest hereafter; and, secondly, but chiefly, 
because an acquaintance with them may be of some assistance to those 
])ious missionaries and others, who are extending so greatly inland 
this vast continent, civilisation, through its gracious handmaiden, 



The ]>art I have had in the production of this work is so very sub- 
ordinate, that I would willingly have omitted my name to it, had not 
the author, with a too great diffidence in his own labours, and a too 
flattering sense of my services, pressed me for it; and I consented, only 
on being permitted to say that I did little more than arrange and 
classify the interesting papers confided to my charge. 







The Dieyerie tribe numbers about 230, the four neighbouring 
tribes, — the Yandrawontha, Yarrawaurka, Auminie, and Wong- 
kaooroo, about 80() — in all about 1030. 

Their country is about G30 miles north of Adelaide, the capital 
of the Province of South Australia, and is bounded at the most 
southerly point by Mount Freeling, at the most northerly 
point by Pirigundi Lake (on the Cooper River), at the most 
easterly point by Lake Ho|ie, and at the most westerly point at 
a part yet unnamed, but about eighty miles from Lake Hope. 
This country is traversed by Cooper s Creek — there only a chain 
of lakes without any defined channel. 

Their language is understood by the four neighbouring tribes, 
with whom they keep up ostensibly a friendly intercourse, 
inviting and being invited to attend each other s festivals, and 
mutually bartering; but in secret they entertain a most deadly 
enmity to each other, although at the same time believing that 
they came from a parent stock, and even intermarrying. 

A more treacherous race I do not believe exists. They imbibe 

treachery in infancy, and practise it until death, and have no 



sense of wrong in it. Gratitude is to them an unknown quality. 
No matter how kind or generous you are to them, you cannot 
assure yourself of their affection. Even amongst themselves^ 
for a mere trifle, they would tiake the life of their dearest friend, 
and consequently are in constant dread of each other, while their 
enmity to the white man is only kept in abeyance by fear. 
They will smile and laugh in your face, and the next moment, if 
opportunity offers, kill | you without remorse. Kindness they 
construe into fear; and, had it not been for the determination 
and firmness of the early settlers, they would never have been 
allowed to occupy the country. The tribe is numerous, and if 
they knew (and it is feared they will eventually learn) their 
own power, the present white inhabitants could not keep them 
down, or for one day retain their possessions. They seem to take 
a delight in lying, especially if they think it will please yon. 
Should you ask them any question, be prepared for a falsehood, 
as a matter of course. They not only lie to the white man, bat 
to each other, and do not appear to see any wrong in it. 

Notwithstanding, however, what has been said of their 
treachery, and however paradoxical it may appear, thev possess 
in an eminent degree the three great virtues of hospitality, 
reverence to old age, and love for their children and parents. 
Should any stranger arrive at their camp, food is immediately set 
before him. 

The children are never beaten, and should any woman violate 
this law, she is in turn beaten by her husband. Notwithstanding 
this tenderness for their remaining offspring, about 30 per 
cent, are murdered by their mothers at their birth, simply 
for the reasons — firstly, that many of them marrying very youn*' 
their firstborn is considered immature and not worth preserving; 
and secondly, because they do not wish to be at the trouble 
of rearing them, especially if weakly. Indeed, all sickly or 
deformed children are made away with in fear of their becoming 
a burden to the tribe. The children so destroyed are generally 
smothered in sand, or have their brains dashed out by some 
weapon, the men never interfering, or any of either sex regarding 


infanticide as crime. Hardly an old woman, if questioned, but 
will admit of having disposed in this manner of fix>m two to four 
of her offspring. 

Their whole life is spent in bartering; they rarely retain any 
article for long. The articles received by them in exchange one 
day are bartered away the next, whether at a profit or loss. 
Should any one of them, more shrewd than another, profit 
on one occasion by this traffic, he is sure immediately after 
to sacrifice his advantage, and the majority of their quarrels are 
caused by bartering or refusing to barter. 

Their food is principally v^etable, animals being very scarce, 
if we except rats and their species, and snakes and other reptiles, 
of which there is an unlimited number. There are no kangaroo, 
and very few emu, the latter of which is their favourite food; 
and occasionally, in very hot weather, they secure one by 
running it down. In a dry season they mainly subsist on ardoo, 
but in a good season, with plenty of rain, they have an ample 
^upply of seeds, which they grind or pound, make into small 
loaves, and bake in the ashes. They gather, also, then plenty of 
plants, herbs, and roots, a description of which, with their native 
names, appears in another place. • 

Their dogs, of which every camp has from six to twenty, are 
generally a mangy lot, but the natives are very fond of them, 
and take as much care of them as if they were human. If 
a white man wants to offend a native let him beat his dog. I 
have seen women crying over a dog, when bitten by snakes, as if 
over their own children. The Dieyerie would as soon think of 
killing themselves as their dogs, which are of great service to 
them— assisting them to find snakes, rats, &c. 

Animal food being very scanty, the natives subsist chiefly on 
vegetable matter, so that eating the flesh of any animal they 
may procure, the dog, notwithstanding its services and their 
affection for it, fares very badly, receiving nothing but the bones. 
Hence the dog is always in veiy low condition, and consequentiy 
peculiarly subject to the diseases that affect the canine race. 

T 2 



In the beginning, say the Dieyerie, the Mooramoora (Good 
Spirit) made a number of small black lizards (these are still to 
be met with under dry bark), and being pleased with them he 
promised they should have power over all other creeping things. 
The Mooramoora then divided their feet into toes and fingers, 
and placing his forefinger on the centre of the face created a nose, 
and so in like manner afterwards eyes, mouth, and ears. The 
spirit then placed one of them in a standing position, which ii 
could not, however, retain, whereupon the Deity cut oflT the tail, 
and the lizard walked erect. They were then made male and 
female, so as to perpetuate the race, and leave a tribe to dispute 
their ancestry with Darwin's monkeys. 

Men, women, or children do not vary in the slightest degree in 
this account of their creation. 


Their traditions suppose that man and all other beings were 
created by the moon, at the bidding of the Mooramoora. Findin:: 
the emu pleasant to the sight, and judging it to be eatable (but 
unable, owing to its swiftness, to catch it during the cold that 
then prevailed), the Mooramoora was appealed to to cast some 
heat on the earth so as to enable them to run down the desireJ 
bird. The Mooramoora, complying with their request, bade theic 
perform certain ceremonies (yet observed, but too obscene to bt' 
described), and then created the sun. 

MURDOO— (Sabdivision of Tribe into Families.) 

Murdoo means taste, but in its primary and larger sionification 
implies family, founded on the following tradition. 

After the creatioYi, as previously related, fathers, mothers, sisters, 
brothers, and others of the closest kin intermarried promiscuously, 
until the evil effects of these alliances becoming manifest, a 
council of the chiefs was assembled to consider in what wav 
they might be averted, the result of their deliberations being a 
petition to the Mooramoora, in answer to which he ordered that 


the tribe should be divided into branches, and distinguished one 
from the other by different names, after objects animate and in- 
animate, such as dogs, mice, emu, rain, iguana, and so forth, the 
members of any such branch not to intermarry, but with per- 
mission for one branch to mingle with another. Thus the son 
of a dog might not maiTy the daughter of a dog, but either might 
form an alliance with a mouse, an emu, a rat, or other family. 

This custom is still observed, and the first question asked of a 
stranger is " What Murdoo?" namely. Of what family are you? 





Should any matter of moment have to be considered — such as 
removing the camps, making of rain, marrying, circumcision, w 
what not — one of the old men moots the subject late at night, 
before the camp retires to rest. At dawn of the succeedincr day, 
each question, as proposed by the old man, is answered at ono? 
or, should they wait until he has finished, three or four speak 
together; with this exception, there being no interruptions, and 
stillness prevailing in the camp. At firet they speak slowly and 
quietly, each sentence in its delivery occupying three or four 
minutes, but generally become excited before the conclusion of 
their speeches. 


Should there be any misunderstanding between two tribes the 
w^omen of one are sent to the other as ambassadors to arrange the 
dispute, which they invariably succeed in doing, when women 
from the other return the visit to testify their approval of the 
treaty arrived at. The reason w^omen are appointed in this ca- 
pacity is that they are free from danger, while, should the men 
go, their lives would be in peril. 



A native of influence, on aniving at one of the camps of his 
own tribe, is usually received in the following maimer: — On 
approaching the camp, the inmates close in with raised arms, 
as in defence; upon this, the person of note rushes at them, 
making a £Eiint blow as if to strike them, they warding it off 
with their shields ; immediately after they embrace him and lead 
him into the camp, where the women shortly bring him food. 
Should any females related to him be present they cry with joy. 
If he visits a neighbouring tribe he is received in the same 
manner as by his own. 

A native of no influence or note, on returning after consider- 
able absence, takes his seat near the camp without passing any 
remark. After remaining a few minutes as if dumb, the old men 
close round him, ask where he came from, and what befel him, 
when he tells them plenty of news, not forgetting to embellish. 
Then two old men stand up, one retailing it, and the other re- 
peating the sentences in an excited manner. Upon this, as on all 
other occasions, the new comer is hospitably received, plenty to 
eat being furnished him. 

PINYA.— (Armed Party.) 

The armed band, entrusted with the oflice of executing 
offenders (elsewhere referred to), is entitled Pinya, and appointed 
as follows: — A council is called of all the old men of the tribe; 
the chief — a native of influence — selecting the men for the pinya, 
and directing when to proceed on their sanguinary mission. 
TIio night prior to starting, the men composing the pinya, at 
about seven p.m., move out of the camp to a distance of about 
three hundred yards, where they sit in a circle, sticking their 
spears in the ground neai* them. The women form an outer 
circle round the men, a number of them bearing firesticksin their 
hands. The chief oi^ens the council by asking who caused the 
death of their friend or relative, in reply to which the others name 
several natives of their own or neighbouring tribes, each attach- 
ing the crime to his bitterest enemy. The chief, perceiving 


whom the majority would have killed, calls out his name in i 
loud voice, when each man grasps his speax. The women, wko 
have firesticks, lay them in a row, and, while so placing them,ciD 
out the name of some native, till one of them calls that of the 
man previously condemned, when all the men simultaneously 
spear the firestick of the woman who has named the condemned. 
Then the leader takes hold of the firestick, and, after one of the 
old men has made a hole a few inches deep in the ground with 
his hand, places the firestick in it, and covers it up, all dedarii^ 
that they will slay the condemned, and see him buried like that 
stick. After going through some practices too beastly to namte 
the women return to the camp. 

The following morning, at simrise, the pinya attire themselvei 
in a plaited band painted white (charpoo), and proceed on theii 
journey, until within a day's stage of the place where they suppo6< 
the man they seek will be found, and remain there during th 
day in fear they may be observed by some straggling native 
At sunset they renew their journey until within a quarter of i 
mile of their intended victim's camp, when two men are sent oni 
as spies to the camp, to ascertain if he is there, and, if possible 
where he sleeps. After staying there about two hours, the^' re> 
port what they have seen and heard. 

The next thing done is the smearing of the pinya with whit< 
clay, so as to distinguish them from the enemy, in case any of th« 
latter should endeavour to escape. They then march towards th< 
camp at a time when they think the inmates are asleep, fron 
about midnight to two a.m.; and, when within one hundrec 
yards of it, divide into two parties, one going round on one sid< 
of the camp, and the second round on the other — formino" a ci^m- 
plete circle to hinder e.scape. The dogs begin to bark, and tht 
women to whimper, not daring to cry aloud for fear of th( 
j)inya; who, as they invest the camp, make a very melanchoh 
grunting noise. Then one or two walk up to the accused, telling 
him to come out and they will protect him, which he, aware o] 
the custom, does not believe, yet he obeys, as he is j>owerless tc 


In the meanwhile, boughs are distributed by the pinya to all 
the men, women, and children, wherewith to make a noise in 
shaking, so that friends and relatives of the condemned may not 
hear his groans while he is being executed. The pinya then kill the 
victim by spearing him and striking him with the two-handed 
weapon, avoiding to strike him below the hips, as they believe, 
were they to injure the legs, they would be unable to return home. 

The murder being consummated, they wait for daylight, when 
the young men of the pinya are ordered to lie down. The old 
men tlien wash their weapons, and, getting all the gore and flesh 
adhering to them off, mix it with some water; this agreeable 
drauglit being carried round by an old man, who bestows a little 
«pon each young man to swallow, believing that thereby they 
will be inspired with courage and strength for any pinya they 
may afterwards join. The fat of the murdered man is cut off 
and wi-apped round the weapons of all the old men, w^hich are 
then covered with feathers. They then make for home. 


If two or more men tight, and one of the number should be 
accidentally killed, he who caused his death must also suffer 
it. But should the offender have an elder brother, then he must 
die in his place; or, should he have no elder brother, then his 
father must be his substitute; but in case he has no niale relative 
to suffer for him, then he himself must die. He is not allowed 
to defend himself, nor, indeed, is he aware of when the sentence 
may Ik3 executed. He knows the laws. On some night ap- 
pointed, nn armed ])arty surround and despatch him. Two sticks 
each of about six inches in length — one representing the killed, 
and the other tlie executed — are then buried, and upon no occa- 
.sion is the circumstance afterwards referred to. 

Should a luan of influence and well-connected, that is, having 
numerous relatives, die suddenly, or after a long illness, the tribe 
Wlieve that he has been killed by some charm. A secret council 
is lield, and some unhappy innocent is accu.sed and condemned, 
atul dealt with by the pinya as previously described. 



Should any native steal from another, and the offender be 
known, he is challenged to fight by the person he has robbed, 
and this settles the matter. 

Should any native accuse another wrongfully, he is dealt witk 
in the same manner as for stealing. 

Children are not punished on committing thefl, but the father 
or mother has to fight with the person from -whom the propety 
was stolen, and upon no occasion, as stated else^vhere, are tk 
children beaten. 

MOODLAWILLPA.— (Hole in the Nooe.) 

This operation is inflicted on the boy or girl at the a<^ of fiom 
five to ten years. The father generally proposes to the other 
denizens of the camp, to have his child's nose pierced, and one oH 
man is selected to perform the ceremony, which is usually done 
at mid-day. A piece of wood, six inches long, from a tree called 
Cooyamurra (a species of acacia), is pointed at one end suffi- 
ciently sharp to pierce the nose, the partition of which the ope- 
rator takes in his left hand, while he pierces it with the ri*^t 
A few minutes before, and during the operation, the men and 
women sing, believing that by singing a great deal of the pain is 
taken away from the child. The hole being made, a large quill 
about a quarter of an inch in diameter is placed in it to prevent 
it from closing up, and kept there until the wound is thorou<4ilv 

The word Moodlawillpa is derived from moodla (nose\ and 
willpa (liole), hence, hole in the nose. 

CHIRRIXCHIRRIE.— (Extraction of the Teeth). 

From tlie age of eight to twelve years, the two front tet-ih 
of the upper jaw are taken out in the foUowino- manner:— 
Two pieces of the Cooyamurm tree, each about a foot Ion<» are 
sharpened at one end to a wedge-like shape, then placed on 
either side of the tooth to be extracted, and driven between as 
tightly as possible. The skin of a wallaby, in two or three folds. 


is then placed on the tooth about to be drawn, after which a stout 
piece of wood, about two feet long is applied to the wallaby skin^ 
and struck with a heavy stone, two blows of which are sufficient 
to loosen the tooth, when it is pulled out by the hand. This 
operation is repeated on the second tooth. As soon as the teeth 
are drawn, a piece of damp day is placed on the holes whence 
they were extracted, to stop the bleeding. 

The boy or girl (for this ceremony is performed indifferently on 
either sex), is forbidden to look at any of the men whose faces 
may be turned from them, but may look at those in front of 
them, as it is thought that should the boy or girl look towards 
the men while their backs are turned from them, the child's 
mouth would close up, and, consequently never allow them to 
eat thereafter. For three days this prohibition is maintained 
after which it is removed. The teeth drawn are placed in the 
centre of a bunch of emu feathers, smeared with fat, and kept for 
about twelve months, or some length of time, under the belief 
that if thrown away, the eagle-hawk would cause larger ones to 
grow in their place, turn up on the upper lip, and thus cause 

The Dieyerie, on being questioned, can assign no reason for 
thus disfiguring their children, than that when they were created 
the Mooramoora* knocked out two front teeth of the upper jaw 
of the first child, and pleased at the sight, commanded that such 
should be done to every male or female child for ever after. 

Tliis ceremony has been witnessed by me on several occasions^ 
and though it must be very {minful, the boy or girl never winces, 

KURRAWELUE WOXKANXA. (Cinrnmciiioii.) 

As soon as the hair on the boy's face makes its appearance, a 
council of old men, not relatives to the boy, is held; but no warn- 
ing is given to him or his parents. Everything is kept secret. 
A woman, also not related to the boy, is then selected, and her 

* Note. — Mooramoora it a good •pirit, god, or divine being; and, although 
they have no form of reli^oot worship, they speak of the Mooramoora with great 


duty is to suspend a mussel-shell round his neck. Wheren 
some appointed night, just before the camp retires to 
ordinarily about nine p.m., she watches an opportunity to sj 
to him, during which she contrives to cast over the boy's he 
piece of twine, to which the shell is attached by a hole drille 
one end. He, knowing the meaning of this by having obsei 
the same thing done to other boys, immediately runs out of 
«amp. The inhabitants of the camp upon learning what has i 
pened, directly commence crying and shrieking at the top of ( 
voices. The father and elder brothers at this become excited 
qiiarrelsome, demanding by what right the old men of the c 
seized their sons or brothers. However, after about an h< 
quarrelling (without fighting), they go to sleep as if nothing 

Id the meanwhile the boy remains alone, camped by hin 
until the following day, when the young men (not relatives), 
him, and take him away to other camps, fifty, or somet: 
one hundred miles distant, for tlie purpose of inviting c 
natives to the intended ceremony. The lad, during the 
keeps aloof from the camps he has been led to; at daj'bi 
before the camp arises, being away Imnting; and at night can 
about four hundred yards apart from the other nati^'es. Du 
the boy's absence, his near relatives collect all the liair oli 
heads of the men, women, and children, till they are thorou 
shorn, spin it, and twist it into a fine thread about the thick 
of ordinary twiue, in one continuous length, without breal 
about 500 yards. This is made for the purpose of winding ri 
tho waist of the lad after circumcision, when it is called Yinl 

On the day previous to that appointed for the ceremoni 
four p.m., all the old women of the camp are sent in search of 
boy, knowing where to find him; for, after proceeding as bi 
described, a distance from his relatives, nccupying so long . 
fortnight, he returns homeward, and i)repares the kuowled" 
his whereabouts by raising smoke twice or thrice each day, w 
also indicates that ho is alive. They then bring him into the o 
when he is directed to stand up for a iew minutes until e^ 


thing is ready. (The natives never can prepare until the very 
last moment, generally causing much confusion when the time 
arrives for work.) The father and near relatives walk up to the 
lad and embrace him, when immediately two or three smart 
young men rush at the boy, place him on the back of another 
man, all the men of the camp shouting at their highest pitch,, 
thrice. The boy is then taken about one hundred yards away 
from the women, and covered up in skins, remaining so till 

The father and relatives of the lad now renew their quarrelling 
with those that o rdered the shell to be suspended to the neck of 
the l)oy, and a general tight ensues, all able-bodied men joining in 
the fray, each helping his friend or relative, \mtil by the time 
the row is ended there are many broken heads and bruised 
bodies — the women in the meanwhile crying, shouting, screaming,, 
hissing, and making many other hideous sounds, like so many 

Subsequent to the suspension of hostilities, the men keep up an 
incessant humming noise, or singing (not dancing), and practising 
most horrible customs, until about four a.m., when the women 
and children are ordered off to a distance of four hundred yards 
from the camp, where they remain beating a kind of wooden 
trough with their hands once every minute (as in civilised com- 
munities bells are tolled for the dead), the men replying to the 
noise in like manner, until day dawns, when the beating ceases. 
Immediately before the boy s circumcision, a young man picks up 
a handful of sand, and sprinkles it as he runs, round the camp, 
which is supposed to drive the devil out, keeping only Moora- 
moora, the good spirit, in. As soon as circumcision has taken 
place, the father stooj^s over the boy,and fancying himself inspired 
by Mooramoora to give him a name other than that he previously 
had, re-names him, upon which he is taken away by some young 
men, and kept away for three or four months after, when he 
returns, virtually a man; for though only a lad in years, he is 
allowed the same privileges as a man, in conse<pience of being 
circumcised. I have omitted to state that, in the event of no 
father living, his next of kin stands iu i^W^ \i>\^\^Q?l. 


Decency has compelled me to suppress the worst features of the 

WILLY AROO. — (To procure a good harvest, supply of snakes, and other reptilea) 

The next ceremony, following circumcision, is that now to be 
described. A young man, without previous warning, is taken out 
of the camp by the old men, whereon the women set up cryiii^ 
and so continue for almost half the night. On the sueeeediig 
morning at sunrise, the men (young and old), excepting his &Uier 
and elder brothers, surround him, directing him to close his eyes. 
One of the old men then binds another old man round his am, 
near the shoulder, with string, pretty tightly, and ^with a sharp 
piece of flint lances the main artery of the arm, about an indi 
above the elbow, causing an instant flow of blood, -which is per- 
mitted to play on the young man until his whole frame is covered 
with blood.* As soon as the old man becomes exhausted bom 
loss of blood, another is operated on, and so on two or three 
others in succession, until the young man becomes quite stiff and 
sore from the great quantity of blood adhering to his person. 

The next stage in the ceremony is much worse for the youi^ 
man. He is told to lie with bis face down, when one or two 
young men cut him on the neck and shoulders with a sharp flint, 
about a sixteenth of an inch in depth, in from six to twelve places, 
which incisions create scars, which until death show that he hfts 
gone through the Willyaroo. 

When tattooed, a piece of wood about nine inches long, by two 
and a-half wide, and about a sixteenth of an incli thick, with i 
hole at one end, is attached to a piece of string eight feet or so 
long, and this is called Yuntha, which he is instructed to twiri 
when hunting, so the tribe may reap a good harvest of reptiles, 
snakes, and other game, and every night until his wounds are 
healed, he must come within four hundred yards of the camp 

* Note. — The reasons assigned for this barbarous practice are that thei^bj 
courage is infused into the young man, and to show him that the sight of blood ii 
nothing ; so that should he receive a wound in warfare, he may account it a 
matter of no moment, but remark bravely that he has previoualy had Uood 
running all over his body, therefore, why should he feel faint or low-hearted. 


(but no nearer), and twirl it so as to acquaint his parents that he 
is alive; and they may send him some food, and in the mean- 
while he must look upon no woman. After perfect recovery he 
returns to the camp, when there is great rejoicing over the 
missing young man. He remains there, however, only for a few 
days; when, accompanied by some of the tribe, he is sent away to 
visit other camps for the purpose of receiving presents, such as a 
spear, boomerang, or other native weapon or curiosity. This 
flying trip is called Yinninda. On the night of his return, these 
presents he Iiands over to those who operated on him, and a song, 
composed during his absence by a young woman selected for that 
purpose, is sung by her, the men, women, and children dancing, 
and this revel is maintained for about two hours. 

MINDARIE.— {Fertival to invoke Peace.) 

After enduring the ordeal of the Willyaroo, the next ceremony 
the young man has to go through is that of the Mindarie, which 
is held about once in two years by this as by other neighbouring 
tribes. When there are sufficient young men in the tribe who 
have not passed this ceremony, and each tribe being on friendly 
terms with the others, a council is held, when time and place are 
apiK)inted in which to hold it — some three months after it is 
determined on — to allow the hair to grow sufficiently long to be 
dressed in the manner hereafter described, and those young men 
whose hair at the termination of this period is not long enough 
cannot take part in the ceremony. Women are sent to the 
neighbouring tribes to invite them to the ceremony, the prepara- 
tions for which in building wurleys, &c., occupy from six to seven 
weeks. Every day witnesses fresh arrivals of men, women, and 
children; and as soon as the first native heaves in sight, the 
Mindarie song is sung, to show the stranger that he is hailed as a 
friend. At length all having arrived, they wait on the full of the 
moon, so as to have plenty of light during the ceremony, which 
commences at sunset In the meanwhile, at every sunrise, and at 
intervals during the da,y, every man in the camp joins in the 
Mindarie song. They then proceed to dress the young men who 


have not gone through the ceremony previously. First of aD 
the hair of their heads is tied with string so that it stands on end. 
Thippa (the tails of rats) are then fastened to the top of the hair, 
the ends hanging down over the shoulders. Feathei's of the owl 
and emu are fastened on the forehead and ears. A large Yinka 
(previously described) is wound round their waist, in which, near 
the spine, a bunch of emu feathers is worn, and the face is 
painted red and black. By the time the yoiuig men are dressed, 
the sun has set. 

All the men, women, and children now begin and continue to 
shout with the full power of their lungs, for about ten minutes. 
They then separate, the women going a little way from the camp 
to dance, while the men proceed to a distance of about three 
hundred yards; the site selected being a plain, generally of hani 
ground, which is neatly swept. A little boy about foiu- years of 
age, deputed to open the ceremony, is tricked out all over with 
down from the swan and duck, bearing a bunch of emu feathers 
on his head, and having his face painted with red ochre and white 
claj'. He dances into the ring — the young men following him. 
and they followed by the old men. They dance for about t«n 
minutes, when the little boy stops the dance by running off the 
dancing ground. 

All the young men then recommence, going through many ex- 
traordinary evolutions, standing on their toes, then on their heek, 
then on one leg, shaking their whole frame at a rapid rate, and 
keeping accurate time, throwing their hands in the air simulta- 
neously, and clapping; running one way as fast as they can go, 
they will suddenly halt, renew the dance with hands and fett 
both in motion, again run off, perhaps twenty abreast, and at the 
sound of a certain word, as one mau, drop one shoulder, and theu 
the other. Then they throw themselves down on the ground, 
dance on their knees, again clap their hands, and accompany 
these postures by shouting and singing throughout the night 
without ceasing, the whole keeping time as perfectly as a trained 
orchestra. By sunrise, becoming tired, the ceremony is closed, 
when they retire to rest, and sleep during the day. 


The reason of holding this ceremony is to enable all the tribes 
to assemble and renew peace, by making presents to each other, 
and amicably settle any disputes that may have arisen since the 
last Mindarie. The natives are all pleased at this observance, 
and talk of the event for many days after. 


So soon as the hair on the face of the young man is sufficiently 
grown to admit the ends of the beard being tied, the ceremony of 
the koolpie is decided on. A council of old men assemble, fix the 
site, and appoint a day for the operation, on the morning of 
which he is invited out to hunt. The young man not suspecting 
anything, is at a given signal seized — one of the party placing 
his hand on the young man's mouth, while others remove the 
yinka (elsewhere described) from his body. He is then directed 
to lie down, when a man ia stationed at each limb, and another 
kneels on his chest to keej) him steady. The operation is then 
commenced by first laying his penis on a piece of bark, when 
one of the party, provided with a sharp flint, makes an incision 
underneath into its passage, from the foreskin to its base. This 
done, a piece of bark is then placed over the wound, and tied so 
as to prevent it from closing up. 

This concludes the operation, and the young man goes away, 
accompanied by one or two others, and remains away from the 
camp until such time as the wound is thoroughly healed, when 
the bark may be removed. 

Men who have passed through this ceremony are permitted to 
appear in the camp, and before women, without wearing anything 
to hide their person. 


When a man, woman, or child dies, no matter from what cause, 
the big toes of each foot are tied together, and the body enveloped 
in a net. The grave is dug to about three feet, and the body Is 
carried thither on the heads of three or four men, and on arrival 
is placed on its back for a few minutes. Then three men kneel 


down near the grave, while some other natives place the body on 
the heads of the kneeling men. One of the old men (osaally the 
nearest relative) now takes two light rods, each about three feet 
long (these are called coonya), and holds one in each hand, stand- 
ing about two yards from the corpse; then beating the coonyi 
together, he questions the corpse, in the belief that it can imder- 
stand him, inquiring how he died, who was the cause of his deatli, 
and the name of the man who killed him — ^as even decease bom 
natural causes they attribute to a charm or spell exercised by 
some enemy. The men sitting round act as interpreter for tlie 
defunct, and, according as the general opinion obtains, give some 
fictitious name of a native of another tribe. 

When the old man stops beating the coonya, the men and 
women commence crying, and the body is removed from the 
heads of the bearers, and lowered into the grave, into whidi 
a native (not related to the deceased) steps, and proceeds to cot 
off all the fat adhering to the muscles of the face, thighs, arms, 
and stomach, and passes it roimd to be swallowed. The reason 
assigned for this horrible practice being that thus the nearest 
relatives may forget the departed, and not be continuallj 

The order in which they partake of their dead relatives is 
this: — The mother eats of her children. The children eat of 
their mother. Brothers-in-law and sistei*s-in-law eat of eadi 
other. Uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, grandchildren, grand- 
fathers, and grandmothers eat of each other. But the father 
does not eat of his offspring, or the ofispring of the sire. After 
eating of the dead the men paint themselves with charcoal and 
fat, marking a black ring round the mouth. This distinguishing 
mark is called Mimamuroomuroo. The women do Ukewise, 
besides painting two white stripes on their arms, which marks 
distinguish those who have partaken of the late deceased; the 
other men smearing themselves all over with white clay, to 
testify their grief The grave is covered in with earth, and a 
large stack of wood placed over it. The first night after the 
burial the women dance round the grave, crying and screamiif 


incessantly till sunrise, and so continue for a week or more. 
Should the weather be cold when a native dies, fires are lighted 
near the grave, so that the deceased may warm himself, and 
otlen they place food for him to eat. Invariably after a death 
they shift their camp, and never after speak of or refer to the 

MOOKOOELUE DUCKANA.--(Boiie Strike, or Death SpelL) 

The words at the head of this chapter are derived from 
Mookoo (bone) and Duckana (strike), the compound word 
implying struck by a bone. As no person is supposed, from 
whatever cause, to die a natural death, but is conjectured to 
have been killed, either by one of a neighbouring tribe, or 
of his own, men, women and children are in constant terror 
of having offended some one who may therefore bear them 
enmity. Thus, so soon as a native becomes ill, a council is held 
solely to ascertain who has given him the bone. Should he 
remain a considerable time without a change, or his malady in- 
crease, his wife, if he has one, or if he has not, the wife of his 
nearest relative, is ordered to proceed to the person who is sup- 
posed to have caused the sickness. She does so, accompanied by 
her paramour (whose relationship is explained elsewhere), and on 
arrival immediately makes a few presents to the person sus- 
pected of her relative's illness, but makes no accusation against 
him, contenting herself with simply stating that her relative is 
fallen ill, and is not expected to recover; whereupon he sympa- 
thises with her, and expresses a hope that the invalid will soon 
be well again. He knows, however, perfectly well, though not 
accused, that he is suspected of having caused the malady; and, on 
the following morning, acquaints the woman that she can return 
to her relative, as lie tvould draw all power away frovn, the 
bone by steeping it in water. Accordingly the woman carries 
back the joyful tidings that she has seen the party who has 
the bone, and he has promised to take all the power out of it. 
Now, should the invalid happen to die, and be a person of any 

influence^ the man who acknowledged to having the bone ia 

V 2 


murdered on the first opportunity. Men threaten their wives, 
should they do anything wrong, with the bone, causing sudi 
dread in their wives, that mostly, instead of having a aalutaiy 
effect, it causes them to hate their husbands. 

This bone is not any ordinary one, but the small bone of the 
human leg; and one of every two of the natives is charged with 
having one in his possession wherever he may go; but, in my 
own experience, I have never seen more than a dozen, and those 
at one of their ceremonies; as for instance, when the whole tribe 
desire to kill at a distance, say from fifty to one hundred miles 
some influential man of another tribe, they order several of the 
old men to despoil the dead, that is to take the small legbones 
from many skeletons. Of these, the relicts of their own tribe 
they take from three to eight, which they wrap in fat and emu 
feathers; all the most noted men of the tribe taking them 
and pointing towards the place where their intended victim 
is supposed to reside; while doing which they curse the man 
they desire to kill, naming the death they would wish him. 
All present are bound to secrecy, and the ceremony lasts about 
an hour. Should they learn, after a few weeks, that the man 
they destine to destruction is still alive and hearty, they account 
for it by supposing that some one of the tribe of the person 
cursed had stopped the power of the bone. 

So strongly are men, women, and children convinced of the 
power of the bone, that no reasoning can shake their belief. I 
have frequently asked why they did not give a bone to my- 
self or any of the settlers, knowing that they mortally hate all 
white men, but they meet this by saying we are too superior in 
knowledge, so that the bone would have no effect on us. 


This is one of their grandest ceremonies. When there is a 
drought or dry season, frequent in the Dieyerie country the 
natives have a hard time of it. No fresh herbs, no roots nothina* 
but ardoo have they to subsist on. The parched earth yieldimr 
no grass, the emu, reptiles, &c., are so poor as to be nearly value- 


less for food; it is, therefore, easily perceived that to the natives 
rain is the supremest blessing. Believing they have the power 
of producing it, under the inspiration of Mooramoora (the Qood 
Spirit), they proceed as follows: — Women, generally accompanied 
by their paramours*, are despatched to the various camps to 
assemble the natives together at a given place. After the 
tribe is gathered, they dig a hole about two feet deep, 
twelve feet long, and from eight to ten feet broad. Over this 
they build a hut, by placing stiff logs about three feet 
apart, filling the spaces between with slighter logs, the build- 
ing being of conical form, as the base of the erection is wider 
than its apex — then the stakes are covered with boughs. 
This hut is only sufficiently large to contain the old men, 
the young ones sit at the entrance or outside. This com- 
pleted, the women are called to look at the hut, which they 
approach from the rear, then dividing, some one way, and some 
the other, go round until they reach the entrance — each looking 
inside, but passing no remark. They then return to their camp, 
distant about five hundred yards. Two men, supposed to have 
received a special inspiration from the Mooramoora, are selected 
for lancing, their arms being bound tightly with string near the 
Hhoulders to hinder too profuse an effusion of blood. When this 
is done all the men huddle together, and an old man, generally 
the most influential of the tribe, takes a sharp flint and bleeds 
the two men inside the arm below the elbow on one of the lead- 
ing arteries — the blood being made to flow on the men sitting 
around, during which the two men throw handfuls of down, some 
of which adheres to the blood, the rest floating in the air. 

This custom has in it a certain poetry, the blood being sup- 
posed to symbolise the rain, and the down the clouds. During 
the })receding acts two large stones are placed in the centre of 
the hut; these stones representing gathering-clouds — presaging 
min. At this period the women are again caUed to visit the hut 
and its inmates, but shortly after return to the camp. 

* Each nuurried woman it peimittod a paramour. 


The main part of the ceremony being now concluded^ the men 
who were bled cany the stones away for about fifteen miles, and 
place them as high as they can in the largest tree about. In the 
meanwhile, the men remaining gather gypsum, pound it fine, and 
throw it into a waterhole. This the Mooramoora is supposed to 
see, and immediately he causes the clouds to appear in the 
heavens. Should they not show so soon as anticipated, they 
account for it by saying that the Mooramoora is cross i^th them« 
and should there be no rain for weeks or months after the 
ceremony, they are ready with the usual explanation, that some 
other tribe has stopped their power. 

The ceremony considered finished, there yet remains one 
observance to be fulfilled. The men, young and old, encircle the 
hut, bend their bodies, and charge, like so many rams, -with their 
heads against it, forcing thus an entrance, re-appearing on the 
other side, repeating this act, and continuing at it until nought 
remains of their handiwork but the heavy logs, too solid even for 
their thick heads to encounter. Their hands or arms must not 
be used at this stage of the performance, but afterwards they 
employ them by pulling simultaneously at the bottom of the lo^^, 
which thus drawn outwards causes the top of the hut to fall in, 
so making it a total wreck. The piercing of the hut with their 
heads symbolizes the piercing of the clouds; the fall of the hut, 
the fall of rain. 


After heavy rains, the smaller lakes, lagoons, and SMramps are 
generally filled with fresh water, attracting flocks of wild fowl; 
and the natives go through a horrible ceremonj'-, without which 
they believe the birds would not lay. On a fine day, after the 
rains, all the able-bodied men sit in a circle, each having a bone 
from the leg of a kangaroo,* sharpened at one end, when the old 
men commence singing, and the others pierce their scrotum several 
times. This must be very painful, yet they show no sense of it 

* It is said elsewhere that there are no kangaroo in the Dieyerie country but it 
mast be remembered that in their expedition for red ochre they travel over the 
lands of other tribes where the kangaroo can be procured. 


They are generally laid up for two or three weeks, unable to walk. 
While thus torturing themselves, the women are crying. At this 
ceremony a song is sung, but it is too obscene to be translated 
here. It is useless to argue with them on the absurdity of this 
custom, for all answer they say it is impossible for white men to 
know their power. 

THE MAKING OF IGUANAS.— (Kaapirrie Wima.) 

Whenever it is a bad season for iguanas (Eoppirries), one of the 
principal articles of their food, some of the natives proceed to 
make them. This ceremony is not observed by the Dieyerie, but 
as they are invariably invited and attend, I think it proper to 
describe it On a day appointed, they sit in a circle, when the 
old men take a few bones of the leg of the emu, about nine inches 
long, and sharpened at both ends. Each old man then sings a 
song, while doing so piercing his ears, first one and then the 
other, several times, regardless of the pain, if not insensible to it. 

I add the song, which is not in the Dieyerie dialect, and a 
translation of it: — 


Pa-pa-pa. Kirra-a. Lnlpara-na. 
Mooloo Karla parcha-ra. WiUyoo Una 
Mathapootana morara Thidaa-ra Mindieindie 

With a boomerang we gather all the iguanas from the flats and plains, and drive 
them to the sandhills, then surroond them, that all the male and female iguanas 
may come together and increase. 

Should there be a few more iguanas after the ceremony than 
before, the natives boast of having produced them, but if they 
are as scarce as previously, they have their cubtomary excuse, that 
some other tribe took awuy their power. 


The iguana is supposed to be a conductor of lightning, and 
during a thunderstorm all these reptiles are buried in the sand. 
And should any native become grey, or have much hair on its 
breast, when young, it is supposed to be caused by eating them 
when children. 



There are places covered by trees held very sacred, the haga 
ones being supposed to be the remains of their fathers metanun*- 
phosed. The natives never hew them, and should the settlen 
require to cut them down, they earnestly protest against it, 
asserting they would have no luck, and themselves might be 
punished for not protecting their ancestors. 


Should a child meet with any accident, all its relatives imme- 
diately get struck on the head with a stick or boomerang until 
the blood flows down their faces, such surgical operation being 
presumed to ease the child's pain. In like manner, should any 
man or woman, by doing anything awkwardly, provoke laughter, 
he or she requests one of the men or women to hit him or her on the 
head till the blood trickles down the face, when the person thus re- 
lieved commences laughing, and appears to enjoy the joke as keenly 
as the rest. 


That of causing a plentiful supply of wild dogs, that of creating 
a plenty of snakes, that of giving strength to young men, and 
some other customs, are altogether so obscene and disgusting, I 
must, even at the risk of leaving my subject incomplete, pass 
them over by only thus briefly referring to them. 

BOOKATOO.— (Expedition for Red Ochre.) 

Every winter, in July or August, a council of all the old men is 
held, relative to the starting of an expedition for red ochre, to a 
place called Burratchunna Creek (west of the Blinman town- 
ship), where there is a large mine of it. Old and young men are 
selected, a day fixed, and a leader appointed to take command; all 
being kept secret from the women,in fear they would persuade their 
husbands not to leave. On the day the party must start, the old 
men rise with the sun, and grasping their weapons and singing, 
promptly depart, without any leave-taking or farewell to their 
wives or children. The women then, conscious of the men s in- 
tentions, commence screaming, screeching, yelling, hooting, hisa- 


ing, and making all kinds of hideous and uncouth sounds — 
calling on their husbands, sons, brothers, and friends, to remain, 
and not to be led into a strange and hostile country; they 
unheeding proceeding on their way for about five hundred yards, 
for the purpose of arranging with the old men who are left 
behind, to build wurleys (Bookatoo Oorannie), for the reception 
of the party when it returns. The site being selected, and 
instructions given to build substantial huts, farewell is taken, 
the expedition singing a rather mournful ditty, encouraging the 
young lads to keep up their spirits; and indeed some of them 
require encouragement, knowing that besides having to travel 
over three hundred miles through strange country, many a 
hungry belly they will have before reaching their destination, 
independent of the load of ochre they will have to carry back. 
The party travels about twenty miles a day, and on arrival at 
the mine each member of it digs out his own ochre, mixes it with 
water, making it into loaves of about 20 lbs. weight, which are 
dried * Each man carries an average weight of 70 lbs. of ochre, 
invariably on the head,"!* and has to procure his own food; the 
party seldom resting a day while on the journey, which lasts 
usually from six to eight weeks, until within one day's stage of 
their camp— the Bookatoo Oorannie. On the return route they 
barter with the tribes they pass, giving weapons for old clothes. 

Leaving for a while the returning party within one stage of 
the Bookatoo Oorannie, I will state what has been done in their 
absence by those who had to prepare those wiirleys, which built, 
a space of about one hundred yards around them is cleared and 
swept. During these preparations, every morning the women are 
ordered away to a short distance and not allowed to return until 
sunset, and during their absence they collect seed, which is stored 
against the return of the expedition. The men of the camp keep 
up a continuous singing during the whole day and night, 
making, from the native cotton bush, sugarloaf-shaped bags, 

* Just after ooUecting the ochre, hATing aU the hair of their facet placked oat (not 

cut or bonit off). 

f The men carry their loads on their heads. 


about eighteen inches in lenp^h, and large enough at the orifice 
to admit the head; these being intended for the Bookatoo mea 
on their return. During the making of the bags the following 
song is sung, of which herewith I give the original, with a free 
translation: — 

Molka-a-a-a — wora-a-a, 

Yoong-arra-a-a Oondoo-o-o, 

Ya Pillie-e-e-e Mulka-a-a-a angienie 


Put colours in the bags, 
Close it all round. 
And make the netted bag 
All the colours of the rainbow. 

The women are supposed never to have heard this song, which 
is kept secret from them,' and they fear that they would be 
strangled by the men should they ever overhear it. 

I now return to the ochre party, who having, for fear of hostile 
tribes, made their way home, only resting at night, are now 
within two hundred yards of the camp prepared for them. They 
drop on their hands and knees, so as not to awaken its inhabi- 
tants, whom they desire to take by surprise, which they do when 
within a few yards distance, by loud yelling and clapping their 
hands and dancing two or three times round the Bookatoo 
Oorannie, after which they retire a little way. The men of the 
camp then rush out to ascertain whether aU of the party have 
arrived safe. Women crying, children screaming, dogs fighting, 
altogether make up a discord language is unequal to describe. 
Now the sugarloaf bags are placed on the heads of the adven- 
turers, the women prepare food for them, and dancing is kept up 
during the whole of the night, until sunrise, when the ceremony 
is over, and until when the women are not allowed to speak U> 
their husbands or relatives. Afterwards, days are spent b}' the 
members of the expedition, in recounting anecdotes and incidents 
of their travel. 


Wittcha. — This disease is, I think, the itch. The symptoms are 
innumerable small pimples all over the body, causing considerable 


irritation, only to be temporarily allayed by rubbing the parts 
affected with a sharp instrument or stone — ^the hand alone being 
insufficient to afford relief. It is very contagious, spreading 
from one person throughout the camp, and is probably caused 
by general want of cleanliness, and allowing mangy dogs to lie 
with them. They are subject to this disease once a year. 

itirra. — A disease which every native has once in his life, 
sometimes at three years of age, but more frequently at fourteen, 
or thereabouts. The symptoms are large blind boils, imder the 
arms, in the groin, on the breast or thighs, varying in size from a 
hen's egg, to that of an emu's ^g. It endures for months, and in 
some instances for years, before finally eradicated. During its 
presence the patient is gener&Uy so enfeebled as to be unable 
to procure food, and in fact is totally helpless. It is not con- 
tagious, and is, I surmise, peculiar to the natives, whose only 
remedy is the application of hot ashes to the parts affected. 

Mooi'a'nwora. — Unquestionably small-pox, to which the natives 
were subject evidently before coming into contact with Euro* 
peans, as many old men and women are pockmarked in the face 
and body. They state that a great number have been carried off 
by this disease, and I have been shown, on the top of a sandhill, 
seventy-four graves, which are said to be those of men, women, 
and children, carried off by this fell disorder. 

THE DOCTOR. HKoonkie.) 

The Koonkie is a native who has seen the devil, when a child 
(the devil is called Kootchie), and is supposed to have received 
})Ower from him to heal all sick. The way in which a man or 
woman becomes a doctor, is, that if when young they have had 
the nightmare, or an unpleasant dream, and relate this to the 
camp, the inmates come to the conclusion that he or she has seen 
the devil The males never practise until after circumcision, and, 
. in fact, are not deemed proficient till out of their teens. 

Whenever a person falls ill, the Koonkie is requested to 
examine and cure him. The Koonkie walks up to the invalid, 
feels the parts affected, and then commences rubbing them until 


he fancies he has got hold of something, when he sucks the pins 
for a minute or two, and then goes out of the camp a few pA 
He now picks up a piece of wood, about one or two inches ko; 
and returns to the camp, where, procuring a red hot coal, he nk 
it in his hands to make them hot, and then feels the disordered 
parts again, and after a little manoeuvering, produces the sti^ 
which he had concealed in his hand, as if extracted from the 
patient's body, to the great surprise of all the natives, wko 
conclude that this was the cause of the complaint. Koonkk s 
requested to try again, when he goes out a second time in a very 
solemn manner (the natives all looking at him with wonder), 
blows twice or thrice, returns, goes through the same performiiMi 
as before, and then produces a long piece of twine, or a piece d 
charcoal, of course from the part affected. 

This impostor won't confess to his trickery, and, indeed, 
from constant practice, at last deludes himself into a belief 
of his skilful surgery, which all the other natives have im- 
plicit faith in. And, indeed, the force of imagination is « 
strong in some cases, that I have seen a native quite ill, and 
actually cry for the Koonkie, who, after his humbugging, 
appeared quite recovered. Should the Koonkie fail in his effort 

to relieve the sick, he is prepared with a ready excuse some 

Koonkie of another tribe, possessing more skill, has stopped hi> 
power. When a Koonkie is ill he calls in the aid of another 
Koonkie to cure him. As I have said elsewhere, no i)erson is 
presumed to become ill naturally. The Kootchie (devil), or some 
native, has bewitched him. 


Sores, cuts, bruises, pain, and diseases of all kinds, no matter 
how arising, are treated in one of two modes; if slio-ht l>v the 
application of dirt to the part affected; if severe, by that of hot 
ashes. In cases of any kind of sting, leaves of bushes, heated at 
the fire, are applied to the part stung, as hot as the patient can 
bear it, and the smart almost immediately disappears. 




RATS AND THEIR CONGENERS. (All eaten by them.) 

Chookaroo Kangaroo 

Kaanoonka Bosh waUaby 

Wartarrie Kangaroo rat 

Pildra Opocsum (of rare occorrence) 

Capietha Native rabbit 

Biiaroo Rat 

Poontha Mouse 

Anitchio Native ferret 

Cowirrie Rat (I don't know the tpeciee} 

Thiliamillarie A speoiee of ferret 

Pnlyara Lon^^-anouted rat 

Koolchie Specieeof rat 

Koonappoo Speciee of monee 

Kolkuna Species of wallaby (very swift) 

Kooraltha Spotted ferret 

Kulunda NVhite and black rat (similar to the house rat) 

Tickawara Native cat 

REPTILES. (Those not eaten marked thns ^ ) 

Kunnie Jew lizard 

Kopirri Iguana 

Patharamooroo Black iguana (I have only seen three; they are very 


Choopa A slender liiard, about Sin. long 

Kudieworoo Red-backed lizard, about 3in. long 

Wakurrie FUt-headed lizard, about Sin. long 

*Womaloora Smooth-skinned lizard, about 5in. long 

^hitthurie Small rough-skinned lizard, about 4in. long 

MoonkMnoonkarilla Small black lizard, with short tail; generally found 

under the bark of trees 

Oolaumi Lizard, transparent skin, spotted yellow and black, 

about 5in. long 

^Kulchandarra Species of lizard, flat head, scaly back, about 4in. 

long ; lives under thesround, and only appears above 
after heavy rains. The natives describe it as veno- 
mous, and affirm its bite is certain death, wherefore 
they are very frightened of it, and even avoid killing 
it, from fear of its poisoning their weapons 

Woma Carpet snake, from 6 to 12ft. long, large body; ita 

bite not venomooa 


Thoona Grey snake, genenJly about oft. long; veiioiBoai 

Wondaroo Green and yellow snake, very thick body, akoisS 

lonff, quite harmless, and has a sleepy «xnsa 
Wonkoo Light brown and grey snake, from 4 to tit Im 

venomous and very vicious 
Wirrawirrala Laige brown snake, with yeUow belly, from6tohl 

long ; very venomous 
Wipparoo Long thin snake, black, shaded with oth«r di 

colours, about 7ft. long ; very venomous, iti bi 

causing instant death, so the natives an n 

cautious m killing it 
Marrakilla Lai|{e brown snake, about 7ft. long, hasalamlia 

IS very venomous and vicious 
Mithindie White and yellow spotted snake, small thin bed 

about 3ft. lonff ; harmless 
Koolielawirrawirra Small yellow and olack spotted snake, about 3fi ki 


Mulkunkoora Black and green spotted snake, 5ft. long ; venoooei 

Thandandiewindiewindie... Small black snake, small mouth, about 5ft. Gin.* yn 

mous ' 

Kurawulieyackayackuna ... Flat-headed snake, green back, yellow spots on bed 

about 4ft. long ; venomous 

Kulathirrie Froc 

Thidnamura Toad 

Pinchiepinchiedara Bat 

BIRDS. (All eaten by them. ) 

Curawura Eagle hawk 

Kunienundruna The largest hawk excepting first-named 

Thirriethirrie Small speckled hawk 

Thoaroopathandrunie White hawk 

Milkieworie Large grey hawk 

Pittiekilkatlie Speckled hawk 

Kirrkie Whistling hawk (very swift) 

Kookoongka Kite 

Windtha Grey owl 

Wurchiewurchie White owl 

Killawoloowolloorka Dark brown owl 

Moonyie Mopawk 

Woroocathie Emu 

Kulathoora Bustard 

Kudruncoo White cockatoo 

KillunkQla Red -breasted cockatoo 

Kooranyawillawilla Cockatoo parrot 

Poolunka Parrot 

Cathathara Shell parrot 

Willaroo Curlew 

Moodlubra Pigeon 

Mumpie Bronzewing pigeon 

VVoparoo Flock pigeon 

Koorookookoo Dove 

MuUiepirrpaoonga Quail 

Choonda Red-breasted robin 

Thindriethindrie Shepherd's companion (a species of wagtail ) 

Thiewillasie Small species of lark 

Mulyamulyayapunie Swallow 

Poothoopoothooka Sparrow 

Kowulka Crow 

Koorabaukoola Magpie 



Booralkoo Native comDanion (lai^ specief of crane) 

Ooroo Nankeen-ooloared crane 

Caliemalyandarie Black and white crane 

Moolpa White crane 

C^ooiechooie Snipe 

Dickadickalyerra Speciea of snipe 

Mootoomootoo Speciee of snipe 

Thanpathanpa SUte-coloored snipe 


Tharalkoo Teal 

Thowla Spoonbill duck 

Kockadooroo \loantain duck 

ChipaU Whistling duck 

Koo<lnapina Brown duck with red beak 

Thookabie Diver 

Doolpadoolparoo Black diver 

Kilkie Water hen 

Muroomuroo Black water hen 

Wathawirrie Species of water hen 

Muloora Cormorant 

Boorkoopiya Long-beaked cormorant 

Kootie Swan 

Thaumpara Pelican 

Kirrpiyirrka Gull. 


Are few and unimportant, being cauffht in the waterholes and lakelets, which can 
only be called creeks or rivers when the floods come down, the last of which 
occurr«<l in 1864. 

Paroo A small bony flat fish 

Multhoomulthuo A flsh weighing from 3 to 3|lba. 

Mooillakoopa A Hsh averaging 41ba. 

Koorie Mussel 

Kuniekoondiv Crayfish 


Thiltharie Centipede (sometimes 7in. long — its bite is venomous) 

Murunkura Tarantula 

K(X>niekoonierilla Black spider 

Kuniekoondie Scorpion 

Pitchula Species of spider 

Pindrie Grasshopper or locust 

Ihirdie Grub, caterpillar 

Koontie Mosquito 

l^ttaboobaritohaiia Sandfly 

VEGETABLFA ROOTS, HERBS, FRUIT, SEED, kc (Eaten by the Nativat.) 

Yowa Rather laiger than a pea, found three inches deepia 

the ground 

Winkara A very starchy root, about 6in. long 

Munyaroo A plant much eaten 

Kunaorra. The seed of the Munyaroo, used when ground into 

meal between two stones 


Ardoo (Often described in newspapers and by writers uKar- 

doo). A very hard seed, a flat oval of aboat the 
size of a split pea; it is crushed or poonded, aad 
' the husk winnowed. In bad seasons thii ist^ 
mainstay of the native sustenance, bat it is the 
worst food possible, possesains very little nomisb- 
ment, and oeinff difficult to digest 

Cobboboo A nut found on the box tree, on breaking which it 

discloses a grub; this is probably a gall 

Wodaroo A thin long root, obtainable only where the soil it 

rich and covered with turf. This is one of the best 
vegetables the natives possess, sweet and mesly 

Coonchirrie The seed from a species of ^^^\pia, gix>nnd and maik 

into small loaves 

Patharapowa The seed of the box-tree, ground and made intolosTM 

Caulyoo The seed of the prickly acacia, pounded and made 

into loaves 

Wodlaooroo Very fine seed taken from the silver-grass, growing in 

the creeks 

Wirrathandra Seed of an acacia 

Mulkathaudra Seed of the mulga tree 

Yoongundie filack fine seed, taken from a plant similar to dorer 

Mootcha Native cotton bush. When the leaves spnrat and 

become qiiite green the natives gather and cook 

them, and at s^ time they pluck and eat thepodi 
Kuloomba Indigenous clover, when young cooked by the nativet 

and eaten in large quantities 

Willapie A small watery plant 

Yoolantie The native fig 

Bookabooda The native sooseberry 

Mundawora The native blackberry 

Thoopara The native pear 

Yegga The native orange 


Mindrie A large root, from the outside of which isobtainedi 

kind of resin, which, when prepared at the lire mkI 
afterwards allowed to dry, becomes very hard au-l 
tough, called "kundrie," and is used in fastening; 
a flint to a short stick called **kundriemooko" 

Mootcha The stems of this bush (the pods and leaves of whioti 

afford food), when dry are poundetl into a fine 
fibre, then teased and spun, after which it is ma«i< 
into bags, which are very nicely done, and occupy 
many days in their production. 


Kulthie Spear 

Kirra Boomerang 

Murawirrie Two-handed boomerang, from 6 to 14ft. long and -tin. 

Kimdriemookoo Of semi-circular shape, 2ft. 6in. long, to one end of 

which is attachecf by resin a flint, forming a kind 

of axe or tool used in making weapons 
Wona A short thick stick, about 3ft. long, used by womeo 

who do not carry the shield, spear, or bo<MneiaDg 


Yootchoowonda A piece of flint about 3in. lon^, with an eclse like a 

razor, and at the blunt end covered with resin; 
this is concealed in the palm of the hand when 
fighting, and is capable of inflicting a wound like 
one niMC with a butcher's knife 

Pirrauma A shield, oval shapeil, of solid wood, from 1ft. to Sft 

long, and from 6in. to 1ft wide. 


Knltraknltra Necklace made from reeds strung on woven hair, and 

suspended round the neck 

Yinka A string of human hair, ordinarily 900 yards in length, 

and wound round the waist This ornament is 
greatly prized, owins to the difficulty of procuring 
the material of which it is made 

Mundamunda A string maile from the native cotton tree, about two 

or three huntlre<l yards long; this is worn round 
the waist, and adorned by dinerent coloureil strings 
wound round at right angles. These are worn by 
women, and are very neatly made. 

Kootcha Bunch of hawk's, crow's, or eagle's feathers, neatly 

tied with the sinews of the emu or wallaby, and 
cured in hot ashes. This is worn either when 
fighting or dancing, and also used as a fan 

Wurtawurta A bunch of the black feathers of the emu, tie<l 

together witli the sinews of the same bird ; worn 
in the vinka (girdle) near the waist 

Chanpoo A band of about 6in. long )>y 2in. broad, made from 

the stems of the cotton bush, painted white, and 
worn round the foreheail 

Koorie A large mussel shell pierceil with a hole, and attacbeil 

to the end of the beard or suspeudeil from the 
neck ; also used in circumcision 

Oonamunda About 10ft of string, nuule fn>m the native cotton 

bush, and worn round the arm 

Oorapathera A bunch of leaves tied at the feet, and worn when 

dancing, causing a peculiar noise 

Unpa A bunch of tassels, made from the fur of rats and 

wallaby, worn by the natives to cover their private 
parts. They are in length 6in. to 3ft long, 
acconling to the age of the wearer 

Thippa Used for the same purpose as Unpa. A bunch of tassels 

made from tails of the native rabbit and, when 
washed in damp sand, is very pretty, )>eiug white 
as the driven snow. It takes al>out fifty tails to 
make an onlinary Thippa, but I have seen some 
consisting of SoO 

Aroo The large feathers from the tail of the emu, used only 

as a fan 

Wurda Wurda A circlet or coronet of emu feathers, worn only by 

the old men 

Pillic .. .. Netted bag, maile from the stems of the cotton bush 

and rushes, with meshes similar to our fishing net 

Wondaroo A closely- netteil bi^^, made from the fibre of the cotton 


IMrra A trough-like water vessel 

Mintic Fishing net, made from rusher, usually 60ft. long by 

Sft. wide 






The Dieyerie dialect, although of limited construction, yet his 
certain rules not oftener departed from than the langaages 
of a more civilized people. Each word invariably terminates 
with a vowel; and, so accustomed are the Dieyerie to this form, 
that in acquiiing foreign words terminating in a consonant, they 
always add vowels, as thus: — Bullock becomes bulakoo; hat, Lata; 
<log, doga; and so on. 

Beside the spoken language, they have a copious one of signs- 
all animals, native man or woman, the heavens, earth, walkinii, 
riding, jumping, flying, swimming, eating, drinking, and hundnd^ 
of other objects or actions, have each their paticular sign, so that 
a conversation may be sustained without the utterance of a single 

This dumb language, of which I possess a thorough knowledge, 
cannot, however, be described in words. A special feature in 
their language is that of distinguishing each other in their rt- 
lationship, by which their names become transmuted in » 
variety of ways — at certain ages, on 'their bein^r married, and 
after undergoing certain ceremonies — examples of which are her? 

Their system of notation, which is described further on, i> 
excessively restricted, as is also their knowledge of astronomT. 
with which they have nevertheless an acquaintance. 



The Dieyerie language extends far beyond the limit of their 
own possessions, being understood, though not spoken, by the 
surrounding tribes. 

The alphabet used by me in the vocabulary consists of eighteen 
letters only, the Dieyerie dialect possession no equivalent for our 
F, J, Q, S, V, X, Z, while K answers in every respect for C, 
excepting where it precedes the letter H. 


A, OS in Hand, hat, fat, band 
Bauble, bible, bride 
Deed, did, deadly 
Treat, tact, tart 
Gag, garffle(never as giant, page, 

Hav, heavy, hearty 
Light, bright 
Kernel, keep, kick, key 
lilt, laurel 
Mama, marmalade 
Nothing, none, noon 
Ormolo, ottraciie, olive 























P, (u ill Pope, puppet, pipe 










Rare, rich, rather 

Teat, tint, threat 

Cur, fur 

Wake, walk, weak 

Youth, yonder 
Au, as in Caught, taught 
Ch {tseh) ChUd, church, chatter 
le, as in Yield, thief, brief 
Oo, „ Moon, soon, balloon 
Ou, ,, Cow. now, how, brow 
Th, „ Teeth, truth, this, that 


Principally, and in lome cases only, ihowing the construction of the language used 
with others, and then usually terminating them. Examples follow-* 

Ahi— No 
Althoo— I 
Alyie — Few 
Ami— To 
Ana — inff 
Anie — Me, my 
Arrie— Same as 
Athie — Do it 
Aumpoo— Almost 
Anni-Will, shaU 

Backa— Same as 
Rolya— That two 
Bootoo— With 
Buckuna — Also 
Buthi^— Not 

Ohanmpana— Always 

Elie— To, of 

Goo— To yours, of yooit 

lanna — We 
lannanie — Oiin 


Kaunchie — Certain, sure 
Koomoo^A, one 
Kow— Yes 
Kookoo— yes, yes 

Launi— Will, shaU 

Marpoo — Great, very 
Marow — Do it (imperative) 
Moonthalie — Ourselves 
Moolaroo — («reat, very 
MuHauna — Together, each other 
Mundroo— Two 
Mundroola — Only two 
Murla — More 
Murra — Fresh, new 
Mutcha — Enough 
Mi— To 

Nandroova — She 
Naniea — Her 
Nankanie — Hers 
Ninna— The, thee, that, it 
Ninniea — This 
Nifl — My« mine 




Nooliea— He 
Koonkanie — Hia 
Nowieya — There 

Oomoo — Good 

Ori — Did, has, have 

Parchuna — All 
Parkoola — Three 
Pilkie— Not relating to 
Pilkildra — Something else 
Pina— Great, very 
Pothoo— Only 
Polpa — Others 
Poimie — None, no one 

Thana— They 
Thananie— Theirs 
Thaniya — Them, those 
Tharkuna — Incline 
Thulka— Relating to 
Tharuna — Together 

Una — ing, ed 
Undroo— Together 

Wadarie— Where, which 
Waka— Little 
Waukawaka > 
Waokamoothoo ( 
Wurana — Who 
Whi— What 
Windrie — Only 
Wirrie— Of them, to them 
Wodow — What, how 
Wonthie— Had 
Wulya — Soon 
Wnlyaloo — Soon after 
Wumie — Whose 
Wurra— Of them, to them 
Wurroonga — Whom 

Yankiea — Many 
Yinie — You 

Yinkanie— Theirs, yours 
Yondroo — Thou 
Yoora — Ye, few 

A — Koomoo 
All — Parchnna 
Also — Bukuna 
Almost — Aumpoo 
Always — Champuna 

Certain — Raunchie 

P^nough — Mutcha 
Each other — Mullauna 

Few — Alyie, yoora 
Fresh — Murra 

fJood — Oraoo 

Great — Marpoo, moolaroo, pina 

Has or have — Ori 
Had— Wonthie 
He — Nooliea 
Him — Nooloo 
His — Noonkanie 
Her — Naniea 
Hers — Nunkanie 
How — Wodow 

I — Athoo 

1 iicline — Tharkuna 

It — Ninua 

little — Wauka 

I^east — Waukawaka, waukamoothoo 

Me — Anie 

Mine, my — Nie 
Many — Yankiea 
More — Murla 

No— Ahi 

None, no one — Punnie 

Not— Butha 

New — Murra 

Not relating to — Pilkie 

One — Koomoo 
Only — Pothoo, wiri 
Only two — Mundroola 
Others — Pulpa 
Of— Elie, thulka 
Of them — Wirrie, wurra 
Ours — launanie 
Ourselves — Moonthalie 

Relating to — Undroo 

She — Nundrooya 

Sure — Kaunchie 

Soon — Wulya 

Soon after — Wulyaloo 

Same as — Arrie, backa 

Self — Moontha 

Something else — Pilkildra 

Tlie — Ninna 
Thee — Ninna 
Theirs — Thananie 

Them, those-Thaniya, Goondroo 
They— Thana 



That— NinnA 

This— Ninn*, niimiea 

Their — Yinkanie 

To — Elie, thalkA, goo, Ami, mi 

To them — Wirrie, wurra 

Together — Mnllanna, tharana 

Three— Parkoola 

That two— Boliya 

There — Nowieya 

Ua— Alie 

Very— Marpoo, mooUroo, pina 

With— Boothoo 
We — lannana, nldra 
Will — Launi or Auni 
Where, which — Wadarie 
Who— Warana 
Whote — Wumie 
Whom — Wuronga 
What— \Vhi, wodow 

Yet— Kow 
Yea yea — Kookoo 
You — Yinie 
Ye— Yoora 
Youn — Yinkanie 


( Moonthalie, ourselvea. Moontha, self — Alie, na 
Alie, na : Moali, hungry. Moa, hanger — AJie, us 

( Mookalie, ueepy. Mooka, aleei> — Alie, na 

I latmanie, ours. Lmna, we^Anie, me 
Anie, me, my ... Apinio, my father. Appirie, father — Nie, my 

( Uldranie, of ua. Uldra, we — Nie, us. 
Bootoo, with- Kintaloobootoo, with a dog. Kintalo, dog — Boothoo, with 
Bntha, not— Yoothabntha, not luckv. Yootha, luck— Botha, not 
Aumpoo, almoet — Aumpoonundra, almoat a blow. Nundra, blow — Arnnpoo, 

ij.|. , \ Bankoelie, of nothing. Baukoo, nothing — Elie, of 

^^ ^^ ( BootchooeUe, of the blind. Bootchoo, blind— Elie, of the 

Goo, of or to — YinKanigoo, of or to yours. Yinkani, yours— Goo, of or to 

1- _ » ; ... ( Kooriekaunchie, thief for certain. Kooriellie, stealini' 

^ure J Ya<linakaunchie, liar for certain. Yadiena, lying 

( Yapakaunchie, fear for certain. Yapa, fear 

Koomoo, one — Poothookoomoo, only one. Koomoo, one— Poothoo, only 
\rr.*u T^^m^ S Oomoonmrla, better. Omoo, good — Murla, more 

Muria. more | Wordoomurla. shorter. Wordoo, short— Murla. more 

Moothoo, most— AN ordoomootha, most short. Wordoo, short — Moothoo, most 
Mullana, together, each other — Damamn liana, cutting each other. Damami, 
to cut— Mullana, each other 

IKaroomurra, hair beginning to get grey. Karoo, grey — 
Munra, new 
Aiurra, iresn, new n Apamurra, fresh water. Apa, water — Murra, freah 

JNoamurra, married couple. Noa, husband or wife — 
( Murra, new, Le. new relationship 
Poothoo, only — Poothookoomoo, only one. Poothoo, only — Koomoo, one 

i Yoothapina, great luck. Yootha, luck 
Pina, great, very •] Moapina, very hungry. Moa, hunger 

( Nooroopina, very quick. Nooroo, <|uick 
Thulka, relating to^Kumuthulka, relating to person of a blackfellow. 
Kuma, person of blackfellow — Thulka, relating to 

1 Mopathuruna, collect together. Mopa, collect 
Thuruna, together •! Kumpathuruna, collect together. Kumpa, collect 

( Ookunathuruna, joined together. Ookuna, joined 
rru 1 • 1* I Kookootharkuna, unlevel down hill 

Tharkumi, indin. \ i>oorathakuna, binding the bodv forward 
"*« '^^^^ • I Munatharkuna. ^ping. Muna,' mouth 

iApaondro, relating to water, ^pa, water 
Pirrundroo, relating to trough. Pirra, trough 
Kumaundroo, relating to person of blackfeUow. Kunu^ 
a blackfellow. 


Love — ^Yoori Had loved — ^Yoora'wt>iitlue 

To love — ^Yoorami Will or shall love — ^YooraUnni 

Loving — Yoorana Love each other — Yoorimalloiia 

Loved — ^Yooranoari Love ye — ^Yooramarow 
Did, has, or have loved — ^Yooranaori 

To Love, Yoorami. Loving, Yoorana. Loved, Yooranaori 

I am loving— Athooyoorana 
Thou art loving— Yondrooyooraaa 
He is loving — Koolieayoorana 

We are loving — Uldrayoorana 
You are loving — Yinieyoorana 
They are loving— Thanayoorana 

I did or have loved — Athooyooranaori 

Thou didst or have loved — Yondrooyooranaori 

He did or has loved — Noolieayooranaori 

We did or have loved— Uldrayooranaori 
You did or have loved — ^Yinieyooranaori 
They did or have loved — Thanayooranaori 

I had loved — Athooyooranaori 

Thou hadst loved — Yondrooyooranawonthie 

He had loved — Noolieayooranawonthie 

We had loved — Uldrayooranawonthie 
You had loved — Yinieyooranawonthie 
They had loved — Thanayooranawonthie 

I shall or will love — Athooyaralauni 

Thou shalt or will love — Yondrooyaralauni 

He shall or will love — Noolieayaralauni 

We shall or will love — Uldrayaralauni 
You shall or will love — Yinieyooralauni 
They shall or will love — Thanayaralauni 


Kurawulie — Boy under 9 years old 
Mockaworo — Boy over 9 and under 12 

years old 
Thootchawara — Boy over 12 years old 

after circumcision 
Tliume — Young man when the hair 

begins to grow on the face 
Matharie — Man 
Pinaroo — Old man 
Koopa — Girl until married 
Mnnkara — Girl on marriage 
Kudlakoo — Woman of middle age 
Wi<llai)ina — Old woman 
Noa — Husband or wife 
Niehie Elder brother 
Athata — Younger brother or sister 
Adada — Grandfather 
Andrie — Mother 

Apirrie — Father 

Athanie— Son or daughter, so called b) 

Athamoora — Son or daughter, so cafle^i 

by father 
Noamurra — man and wife 
Booyooloo — Near relative 
Kaka — Uncle 
Kakoo — Elder sister 

Kunninnie— Grandchild or grandmotbtr 

Pirraooroo — Paramour 

Piyara — Mother-in-law 

Pulara— Woman when appointed iin- 

Tliiclnara — Nephew 
Thuroo — Father-in-law 
Widlamurra — Women 
Wowitcha— Distant relative. 


Auma — Breasts I Cootchara — Ears 

Caupoora — ^Waist \ Cauloo — Liver 



Coopoodrompoo— WrUt 
Imulhi — Swallow 
KoodnAbiddie— Intestines 
Knndrieeooloo— Collar-bone 
Moonanibirrie — Chest 
Muttaduckoo — Ancle 
Milkie — Eyes 

Milkiecootchara — Eyebrows 
Mnrra — Hand 
Murramookoo — Fingers 
Murrapirrie — Finger nails 
Murraundrie — Thumb 
Murrawootchoo — Forefinger 
Milperie — Forehead 
Muna — Mouth 
Munanilyie— <>ums 
Munakirra — Jawbone 
Munathandra — Teeth 
2kIongathanda — Head 
Mieniie — Lips 
Moodla — Nose 
Mundra — Stomach 
Mook oo — Bone 
Oona — Arms 
Oolcoo — Cheeks 
Cora — Jjem 
Puliethilcna— Groin 
Pittie^ Fundament 

Pittiemookoo— Seat 
Punchiethandra — K nees 
Poondrapoondra — Kidneys 
Poongn(^ — Lights 
Pida — Navel 
Pun kathirrie — Side 
Pillperrie — Shoulders 
Para — Hair 
Thookoo— Back 
Thilchaundrie — Calf of legs 
Thinthabiddie— Elbow 
Thidna— Foot, feet 
Thidnamookoo— Toes 
Thidnawurta — Heel 
Thidnaundrie — Large toe 
Thidnaulkie— Between the toes 
Thidnathookoo — Insteps 
Thidnapirrie — Nails of the finger 
Thara— Thigh 
Thilcha — Sinews 
Thudacuna — Pulse 
Thitha— Joints 
Unkachanda— Chin 
Unka— Beard 
Urra— Heart 
Woolcha — Hips 
Yoorieyoorie — Veins. 


The only words representing numerals possessed by the natives are : — 

Coomoo— One Parcoola — Three. 

Mundroo— Two 

Should they desire to express any greater number, it is done by adding 
together the wonls above, for instance : — 

4. Mundro-la-mundro-la 

5. Mundroo-mundroo-coomoo, that is twice 2 and 1 

6. Mundroo-la-mundroo-la-mnndroo-la, that is thrice 2 

And so on till 
10. After which to 20, the term murrathidna, from murra (hands) and thidna 
(feet), is used, and the tingers and toes brought into play. 

Their arithmetic is then exhausted, and any larger number than 20 is signified 
in the dumb language, conveying the idea of a mob~an innumerable quantity. 


The Dieyeries have some slight acquaintance with the heavenly bo<lies, and also 
with the canlinal points. Not being informed in that science myself, I can only 
quote a few instances: — 

Ditchie— Sun 

Pirra— Moon 

Ditchiethandrawauka— Stars 

Amathooroocooroo — Evening Star 

Kyirrie— Milky Way 

Koolakoopuna— A bright star seen in 
the northern hemisphere in 
the winter months 

Kurawurathidna — A cluster of stars 
representing the claw of an 
eagle-hawk, seen in the 
western hemisphere during 
the winter montlis 

Apapirrawolthawolthana — Two stars 
seen in the southern hemis- 
phere in the wusl^ax 



Ditchiepittiekillku na — Meteor 

Kooriekirra— Rainbow 

Ditchiecoomawoorkoo — The 8un*s meri- 
dian also north on its 

Wathararknna — The south, the q[iiaitff 
from which the wind ii 
most preYalent 

Ditchiedoonkuna — Sunrise 

Ditchiewimma — Snnaet. 


Whenever this phenonemon occurs the natives become very terriiied, believiag 
it to be a warning from the devil (kootchie) to keep a strict watch, as the piro 
(armed party) is killing some one, also a caution to avoid W]x>ngdoing, lest u» 
pinya comes to them when least expected. The inmates of the camp then huddle 
together, when one or two step out and perform a ceremony to charm the kootchie. 


Ist. Athona yoora Goda 

2nd. Watta yooudroo aunchana pitta, paroo, ya ya pittapilkildn windrie 

Goda yondroo aunchana 
3rd. Watta Goda yoondroo baukooelie dikana 

4th. Apirrie, ya andrie, parabara oondrana thana thipie aumannnthoo 
5th. Watta yoondroo norrie nundrala 
6th. Watta yoondroo piilakaunchie 
7th. Watta yoondroo Koonekaunchie 

8th. AVatta yoondroo knrna komanelie, baukooelie ulchulchamuna 
9th. Watta yoondroo bootoo thoola milkirrana ya, noa thoola watta yoondroo 

milkirrana baukooaumanuntho. 


Achea — Ask 

Achana — Asking 

Achaini — To ask 

Achanaori — Has asked 

Achanawonthie — Had asked 

Adacla — Gramlfather 

Ardaunie — Beliiud 

Ahi — No, no 

Akuna — To flow (as water llowiug or 

Akoonga — To me, of me 
Alie— Us 
Alyie — Few 
Alkooelie — Nice 
Alkoonie — Very nice 
Alkoo — Persons visiting a neighbouring 

tribe to barter 
Alkoopina — Delicious 
Althoo— I 
Awa — In reality 
Anaua — lueliuation 
Anie — Me 
Andrie — Mother 
Autie — Meat, tlesli, animal food 
Antiea— The meat 
Antiemura — Of the meat 
Apa — \Vater 
Apanie — The water 

Apalie — Of the water 

Apanundroo— Relating to water 

Apulya — Watery 

Apinie — My father 

Apoo — Comprehend 

Apoona — Comprehending 

Apooapoo* — Dumb 

Apoouna — To bathe, bathing 

Apachunka — Damp, moist, wet 

Apooriea —Silence 

Ai)oonina — Silenced 

Apirrie — Father 

Arrie — Similar 

Athanie— Son or daughter (so called by 

Athamoora— Son or daughter (so called 
by father) 

Athata — Younger brother or sister 

Aumami — To sit down 

Aumuna— Sitting down, residing 

Auminthina — Remain 

Auminthieami — To remain 

Auminthiemarow— Remain (impera- 

Aumulka — Keep 

Aumulkuna — Keeping 

Aunchana — Caressing 

Aumie— Flock (of sheep or birds, mob 
of cattle, &c.) 

* During nine yeiurs' act^uamXAnncc >n\W\ \.\\e\)\<i'stV\ft w\^ w^\^\vVift\xr\n« tribes I hare encountered 
only one woman and one mai\ deal and d\xm\>, \)»x\d Vw;«i *:v>\\N«^ftwii VvOcv "vX\v?Ba.\i>j >a*to ^^t native sigim. 



Auinpoo — Almcwt 

Auncniemallmna— Consideration of peace 

Back* — Husk or outer shell ; also used 

as a terminal implying 

'* the same" 
Birrie — Danger 

Birruna — Endangering, dangerous 
Binina — Exchange nlaces, tMLe turn and 

turn about 
Boorkalie — Conscience 
Boolkooruna — Home-sickness, desire to 

return to friends and re- 

Bookaundrinie — Scrub, shrubbery, more 

bushes thjm trees 
lk>oka — Vegetable food 
Boolyaroo — Soft clay, mud 
Booyooloo —Near relative 
Boolyia— Those two, that two 
Boompoo — Bud, immature 
Boompoonundra — To strike ineffectually, 

to hit with no force. (From 

Mundra — to strike, and 

Booloopathuruna— Requiring change of 

Booloo— White 
Boonoonoo — I tching 
Boonka — (jin>w 
liooukuna — ( Growing 
Boonkanaori — Has jrrown 
liooukanawonthie— -Had grown 
Ik>onkanalauni— Will grow 
Boor ka — Watle 
Boorkunaparana — Wading through or 

crossing water 
lk>oroolkooyirrpaniuTuna — Two persons 

crouching down, hiding to 

avert danger 
Bootchoo — Blind 
Bootchooelie— Of the blind 
Bootchoondroo — Relating to the blind 
Bootharoo — Shower of rain 
Boongala — Shade 
Boougalio — Of the house or hut 
Boouga — Wurley, house, hut 
Bootuo — ProjKjrty, cliattels: also used 

as a terminal "with** 
Bootooundruo — Relating to property or 

Baukoona— Digging 
Baukoo — Nothing 

Baukooelic — Of nothing, with no purpose 
Bukina — Skinning any animal without 

aid uf instrument 
Bukinaori— Has skinne<l 
Bukina won thie — Had skinned 

Bukinalanni — Will skin 

Bukuna — Also. Yoodroobuknna (Yoon- 

droo— You) — You uso 
Bunkanie — Ride, sides 
Bunkie — Pride 

Bunkiethoorana — Sleeping on the side 
I Bunkiebunkuna — Proud 
Bunyabnnyina — A trotting pace 

Champuna — Alwajrs 

Chanoachanduna — Mimicking for the 

purpose of joking 
Chandachandathie — Apt to numic 
Chakakuna — Doubting 
Chakairrpamulluna — Doubting each 

Charpoo— Wliite band worn across the 

Chika — Wrong, awkward 
Chikala — Quite wrong 
Chikaundroo — Relating to wrong 
Chilpie— A knot 
Chilpieundroo>-To tie a knot 
ChiuDerrie — Scars raised on the body 
Chindrina — Glossy, smooth surface 
Chindriechindriethuruna—Very glossy, 

very smooth 
Chirruna— Breaking of the skin by some 

Chirkara — Sharn, keen edge, not blunt 
Chirrinchirrie — ^Knocking out of teeth 
Choondaroo* — Bed-ridden, paralysed 
Choo — An exclamation to draw attention 
Chookaroo— -Kangaroo 
Chuwchow — awkward 
Choopadoo— Toplay : when children wish 

to play they use this word 
Chuboochuboo — A ball (played with by 


Dalkoo— Clear, transparent 
Damami — To cut 
Damina— CuUing 
Damamarow — Cut (imperatively) 
Damathuruna— Cut together 
Dainamulluna— Cutting each other 
Danina — Biddins farewell 
Daninaori — Has liidden farewell 
Daninawonthie — Had bidden farewell 
Daniiialaunie — Will bid farewell 
Danthoo— Soft 
Dapa— A sore, a wound 
Darpami— To sweep 
Darpuna— Sweeping, clearing a space 
Daqmmarow — Sweep (im]H*ratively) 
Daralie— Ba<l season for food 
Datharoo — Wait 

Dauchoomuna — With care, handle or 
carry with care 

' I have Men sliTt three |xrfect sksl«toos->iBere ikin and bone up to the oeck and fftoe^vhld^ 
vere compsnOlvely fleafaj. 



Dieami — ^To strike, to hit 

Dieuna — Striking 

Dienaori — Has stricken 

Dienawontkie — Had stricken 

Diealauna — Will strike 

Diemarow — Strike (imperatively) 

Dikuna — Naming a chud 

Dikamarow-Name a child (imperatively) 

Dikami — To name a child 

Dieamuna — Gaping 

Dilka — Thorn, Durr, prickle 

Dilkera — Ed^e, shore 

Dilkerawirrtie — Along the edge, extreme 

Dooknrami — To extract, loosen, unfasten 

Dookuna — Extracting, loosening, unfast- 

Doolkooro — Large hole or gully 

Doonkami — To rise 

Doonkuna — Rising 

Doorootharkuna — Round shouldered, to 
bend the body forward 

Doomodomoora — Round, anything round 

Doolkamuruna — Gorged, sick 

Dowa — Interfere, stop a quarrel 

Dowuna — Interfering, suppressing 

Doongiema— Cripple, a lame person 

Doontouna — Echo 

Dukami — To pierce 

Dukuna — Piercing 

Dukamarow — Pierce (imperatively) 

Dukathnruna — Pierce together, we are 

Dukadukuna — Walking 

Dulkana — Attracting the sun's rays 

Dulkinathurina — Attracting heat 

Dunkina — M eeting 

Dungina — Breaking cover to start game 

Duruna — A scratching noise 

Durieirrpuna — A scratching noise 

DuUarie — Ice (seldom seen in Dieyerie 

lana — We 
lananie — Ours 
Imulla — The swallow 
Inaloo — Below, beneath 
Itcha — Frequently 

Kaka — Uncle 
Kakoo — Elder sister 
Kakoo — Yellow, yellow ochre 
Kakarurruna — Belching 
Karchuna — Turning, revolving 
Karchamulkana — Turning over 
Kapara — Come 

Kaparow — Come (imperatively) 
Kararalie — Excessive heat 
Kaparachilpie — A wart, homy excre- 
scence on the flesh 
Karoo — Grey 
Karoomura — Greyiah, mcUmiv^ to ^e^ 

Karpami — To sew, mend 

Karpuna — Sewing 

Karpamarow — Sew (imperatiTelY) 

Karka— Call 

Karkami — ^To call 

Karkuna — Calling 

Karkamarow — Call (imperatively) 

Karkathuruna — Calling together (ire 

are calling) 
Karkamnlluna — Calling each other 
Kathie — Wearing apparel 
Kaulkoo — Rushes 
Kaunchie — Certain, snre ; sudden 

Kaungoo — Perspiration 
Kautoo — A breakwind 
Kauloomuruna — Greedy 
Kikubyeruna — Slipping 
Killuna — I)ancine 
Kilchuna — Skinning 
Kilchami — To skin 

Kilchamarow— Skin (imperatively) 

Kilpa— Cool 

Kilpalie— Cold. Literal tranalatioo— 
Cool us 

Kilpaoomoo — Very cold 

Kilpanie— Winter ; also, I'm cold 

Kilkie— Water hen 

Kilthie— Soup, juice 

Kima — A swelling 

Kimarrie — Is swelling 

Kimuruna — Has swoUen 

Kinka— Laugh 

Kinkuna — Laughing 

Kinkaboolkaroo — Smiliug 

Kintalo — Doc 

Kinna — Climbing 

Kirra— A native weapon (boomerang) 

Kirrie— Clear-headed, sensible. Als.> 
used to order the wav t> 
be ••cleared'* to allow .*f 

Kiminuruna — Teeth set on edge by 
hearing grating noise 

Koodna — Excrement 

Kookoo— Yes, yea. Also, hollow vessel 

Koodakoodarie— Very crooked, irregniir 

Kookuna — News, intelligence 

Kookathuruna— Telling the news 

Kookootharkuna — Unlevel. down hill 

Kookoo tharka — Topsy tur\-y 

Kookoonirruna— Noise of birds rising or 

Koolkami — To protect 

Kulkuna — Protecting 

Koolkamarow— Protect (imperativelj) 

Koolkathuruna— Under protection, pro- 
tecting together 

Koolie — Odour, scent 

Koolkoorie — Game of hide and 
played by chUdren 
i Koolkamuna— Jumping, springing 



KoolkamunawirricA — To jump down 
Koolpina — Searching for tracks 
Koolpie — An operation fvkU text) 
Koomanlie — Own friend 
Koomarie— Blood 

Koomuna — A dance performed by wo- 
men, when thev move their 

legs very rapicfly 
Kooooelie — Knowing notning of it 
Kooooanie— I know nothing of it 
Koongarra — Rustling or wnirring noise 

caused by birds rising 
Roonthina — Sprinkling 
Koondrakondroo— Coughing;, a cold 
Koonyillie— Debris of leaves used by 

swans in building nests 
Koontie — Mosquito 
Koonkuna— Walking lame 
Koonabootharoo — \\ hirlwind 
Koonkie — Native doctor 
Koondagie — Storm, heavy black clouds 
Koonkana — A gruntinff noise 
Koontiekoontie — Crooked 
Koopoo — Forelegs 
Koopa — child 

Koopirrina — Sore from any cause 
Koopulyeruna — Diarrhoea 
Koopia— Calling a child, as '*Come, child" 
Koopawura — Calling children 
Koopawuria — Calling children (authori- 

Koorie — Mussel shell 
Koorieunda — Opening in wurley to allow 

escape of smoke 
Kooriekirra — Rainbow 
Kooriekuruna — Escaped, ran away 
Koorookooroomulkuna — To hide any* 

thins, to keep secret 
Koomooworkoo— Uorizontjd, across 
Koomoo — A, one 
Koorana — Laying, placing; also, bring- 

mg forth young 
Kooranaori — Has laid 
Kooranawonthie — Had laid 
Kooralauni — Will, lay 
Koorathuruna — Parrying, shielding 
Kooriethuruna — Forgotten, loss of 

Rooraffie — Certainly 
Koorielie — Stealincr 
Roorickaunchie — Thief for certain 
Rootcharabooroo — Deaf 
Koothina —Out of sight, disappearance 
Rootcha— Leaf, leaves 
Rootie — Swan 
Rootchie — Devil, evil spirit 
Rootchieelie — Devil, evil spirit 
Raupirrieundroo — Relating to the iguana 
Row— Yes 
Rowkow — Sponging, to sponge on any 

Rowakabona — Calling to account 

Kubbou— Ejaculation to warn from 

Kudlakoo — Midme-aged woman 

Rulakula — Disgusted 

Ruldriecharkuna — Bending the body 

Kuldrie^Brackish, bitter 

Rnlkawura — Afternoon 

Rullula— Retaliation 

Rulkana— Waiting 

Rulkami — To wait 

Rulawuna— Gatherinff up 

Rulkulie— Slightly, slowiy, gently 

Rulie — That's enough, I have said it^ 
that's sufficient 

Kulthie — Spear 

Ruma— Reep 

Rumuna — Keeping 

Rummie — Sister-in-law 

Rumpuna — Gathennff 

Rumpathuruna— Gathering together 

Rumpamarow^^ather (imperativelv) 

Runninie — Grandchild or grandmother 

Rundrie— Resin ; also a native weapon 

Runtha — Grass 

RunthaundroQ— Relating to grass 

Runthakoola — Green 

Runffimina— Playful, merry 

Rundriemookoo— A native weapon 

Runthakunthun»— Shaking anything 

Rupi)ie — Egg 

Rurdie — Bruther-in-law 

Ruma — A native, aboriginal 

Rumaundroo— Relating to a native 

Rurdiemurkara — A supposititious laive 
fish at the bottom of the 
lakes and deep waters 

Rurrakurrairrpuna— Feeling pain, sense 
of pain 

Rurloomura — Two of the same age cir- 
cumcised at same time 

Rurlina — Obliterating 

Rurta— Sound 

Rurtie — Raw 

Kurumba — Blaze of fire, flame 

Rumirrie — Directly 

Rurieami — To pursue 

Ruruna — Pursuing 

Rurra — Vermin in animals 

Rurruna — Feelinv 

Rurrakurrana — Reeling with the hands, 
ffroping in the dark 

Rura — Probably, in all probability 

Rurrawelie — Boy before circumcised 

Rutta — Lice, vermin 

Rntchakutchana— Paining, continued 

Rnttanylpa— Lice, nits 

Marisnka — Raising or lifting np 
Mathiena — Of course 
Malthie— Cool 



Malthiela — Inclining to be cool 

Manathoonka — Morning 

Marpoo — Many 

Matha — Bite 

Mathima — Biting 

Mathanaori — Has bitten 

Mathanawonthie — Had bitten 

Mathanalauni — Will bite 

MathamuUuna — Biting each other 

Mi — Commence, begin ; also To, attached 

to a verb 
Miaroo— Rat 
Midukuna — Driving 
Mikarie— Deep 

Milkitchaparawuma — Light-headed 
Milla — Bace, current 
Milluna — Racins 
Milliemuluna— Racing each other 
Milkie — Not strange 
Milkiela — Acquainted with, seen before 
Milkirruna — Coveting, desiring 
Milkiechenmuna — Opening the eyes, 

opened eyes 
Milpera — Company 
Millierieununanie — Dissolved 
Milya — Any kind of food eaten by a 

native for the first time 
Milyaroo — Dark, dust 
Mina — What is 
Minapitta — What is it 
Minka — Deep hole, cave, burrow 
Minanie — AVnat else 
^lindane — A ceremony 
Mintie— Net 
Mindriea — Run 
Mindrina — Running 
Mindrielow — Run (by command) 
Mirrie — Above, the top 
^lirrka — Small black ants 
Mirrj^a — Ignite 
Mirrpami — To ignite 
iMirrpuna — Igniting 
Mitha — Earth, ground, dirt 
Mithalkillyana— Ix)aniy soil 
^liyerra — Begin it, commence it 
^liuandroo — For what reason? 
Minarrauie — Fur what reason? Why 

;Mithathootina — Cover over with dirt 
Moa — Hunger 

Moalie — Hungry (hunger us) 
Moanie — I am liungry (hunger me) 
^loapina — Very hungry 
Moodlathirruna— Frowning, looking 

^loodlakoopa— A fish weighing about 

4 lbs. 
Mooduna— Finishing 
Moodanaori — Has finished 
!Moodawonthie — Ha<l tinished 
Moodalauni — Will finish 
Moodlawilpa — H.o\e in. Wv<i ivo^c 


Moouiroa— Quantity, great numy 

Moolthabuna — Soakmff in WAter 

Moola — Quiet, tractable^ harmlect 

Mooka — Bleep 

Mookalie — Sleepy (sleep ua) 


Mookoothoorana — Lying aaleep 

Mooncha — Sick 

Moochuruna — Sickness 

Moonchaparana — ^Lying ill 

Moonchoo — Flies 

Moonchoelie — The flies 

Moonchoondra — Flies 

Moongara — Spirit, soni ( I cannot dsKribe 

this word otiierwiBe) 
Moonffathandramiduna — Sick heAdacks 
Moonkuna — Ehnbracinc 
Moonkanaori — Has embraced 
Moonkanawonthie — Had embrsoed 
Moonkalaoni — ^Will embrace 
Mookoo — Bone 
Moonarrie — Precipice, bark 
Moontha — Self 
Moonthalie — Myself 
Moonthabutha — Illiberal 
Moonthapirra — Very liberal 
Moongaworoo — The bead smeared witk 

white clay ( signifying gnt 

for the dead) 
Mongamuna — Striking on the head 
Moonmananie— Punishment of eld«r 

brother for youngws 

Moonyirrie— A circle, current ina sti^am 
^lopa — Collect 
Mopami — To collect 
Mopamarow — Collect (imperatively) 
Mopuna — Collecting 

Mopathuruna— Collecting together, con- 

Mooroouna — Scratchiug or rubbing the 

Mooramoora— The Good Spirit, 

Mooromooroo— Disabled, deformed 

:Moothoo — Certainly, without food 

Mooya — Dry 

^looyeruna — Drying 

MucUanchie — Not good, unpleasant 

Mulluna — Alike 

Multlioomulthoo — A fish 

Mumuna — Begging anything 

Munkalie — Carefiu 

Munkara — Young woman 

Mungarina — shy 

Mungarinanie— I am modest, modest me 

Mundracowellie — J ealoua 

Munumumna— Talkative, gabbling 

Munacootlmruna — Tired of t-a^lkint; 

^lundroo — Two 





Mundroola — Only two 
Mandramindinji — To draw in the belly 
Muna — Mouth 
Munamoroomaroo — A black mark round 

the mouth, distingoishing 

thoee who have eaten 

human flesh 
Munathark una — Oapinff 
Munyerruna — Parched Tips 
Munyoo— Good, pleasant to the taste 
Mundathunina — ^Lazying 
Mundathurathie — Lazy, want of enei^ 
Mnnthaka — Unmarried 
Muniea — Catch, secure 
Munina — Caught 
Munieami — To catch, to secure 
Mnniemarow -Catch, secure (imperative) 
Munkuna — Scattering, dispersing 
Mundrunchoo — Pregnant 
Murdie — Heavy 
Murdawola — Tiie under stone used in 

grinding seed 
Mnrdacooparoo — The upper stone, do. 
Murdoo — Taste 
Muracherpuna — Groping with the hands 

in the oark 
Muroo— Black 
Murulyie — Red 
Murookootoo — Black ochre 
Murkara — A large flsh 
Murchamurchuna — Whimpering 
Murla— Again, true, not false, boat 

Murlaloo — Without doubt 
Murrawirrie —Two-handed sword 
Murra — Freeh, new 
Mumwillpillpuruna — Numbed hand 
MumdiekiUa— Waves 
Mumdiekillundroo— Relating to the 

Mnnlapooroo — Hailstones 
Mutcha — Enough, sufficient 
Mutchoomutchoo — Orphan 

Nanieya — She 
Nandrooya —Her 

Nanied»— She is here (after inqoiry) 
Nanka— Just down there 
Nankuldra— Repeat 
Narrie — Corpse 

Nanienie— The dead, my dead 
Niuna — Seeing 
Niie — Seen 
Niehie — Seen 
Nianaori — Has seen 
Nianawonthie— Had seen 
Nianauni — Will see 
Niamnlluna— Seeing each other 
Niamarow— See, l<^k, behold (impera- 

Niehie — Elder brother 

Nieamurra — Brothers 

Nieaundroo>-Relating to 

Nillanilla — Mirage 


Ninia— This 

Niniya — ^That, there 

Nindrie — Body of anything 

Ninthalie— Ashamed 

Ninthapina — Very much ashamed 

NinthaDutha — Not ashamed 

Ninthaooroo— Shameless 

Ninyillpuna — Turning inside out 

Noa — Wife or husband 

Noamurra — Wife and husband 

Noandroo— Relating to wife or husband 

Nokooloonokooloo-— Continually repeat- 
ing, reiterating 

Nooliea — Strangle 

Noolina — Strangling 

Noolinaori — Has strangled 

Noolinawonthie — Had strangled 

Noolilaunie — Will strangle 

NoolinamuUana — Stranding each other 

Noongkoongoo— To him 

Noongkunie— His, belonging to him 

Noora— TaU 

Nooroo — Quick 

Nooroocauko — Not quick, slow 

Nooroopina — Very quick 

Nooroonooroo— Be quick, hasten 

Nowieya — There 

Numpami — To bury, or cover 

Numpuna — Burying, or covering 

Numpathnruna — Buried, covered 

Numpanaori — Has buried, or covered 

Numpamarow— Bury, or cover it (im- 

Numpamullnna— Covering each other 

Numpunawonthie — Had buried 

Numpalauni — W^ill bury 

Nurieami — To order away 

Numna— Ordering away 

Nunga— Pour 

Nnnguna — Pouring 

Nungathnruna — Pouring out 

Nungamarow — Pour out (imperatively) 

Nunginaori — Has poured 

Nunginawonthie — Had poured 

Nimffalaunie — Will pour 

Nundra — Strike it 

Nundraori— Has stricken 

Nundrathie — 


NundramuUuna— Striking each other 

Nunka — Press 

Nunkami — To press 

Nunkuna — Pressing 

Nunkathuruna — Prassinff it 

Nunkamarow — Press it (imperatively) 

Nunkamolluna — Pressing each other 




Oolkuna — Watching 
Oodlaka — Watchguard 
Oodlakuthuruna — Watching or guarding 

Ooknna — Mixing, joining 
Ookunathuruna — Mixing or joining to- 

Ookiwnrana--Sick, retchinff 
Ooldroo^^mall mouth, smul hole 
Oolaulcha — Bubbles 
Ooliekirra — New, bright, clean 
Oolkaitcha — Betraj^ing, a person unable 

to keep a secret 
Oolkootharkuna — The elder brother's 

assistance asked by the 

younger in fighting 
Oolyie — Gum 

Oomoo — Good, nice, pleasant to the eye 
Oomoomurla — Better than good, superior 
Oomoomoothoo — The best of all 
Oona — Arms, wings 
Oonoo— Laid 
Oonarrie — Right-handed 
Oouchamuna — Recognised 
Oonchami — To recognise 
Oonduna — Thinking 
Oonthana— Moving the body to and fro 

when sinfipnff (a customary 

usage with the tribe) 
Oondrami — To think 
Oondra— Think 
Oondrathuruna— Thinking together, 

Oonawillpillpirruna--The arm benumbed 
Ooroo— Often 

Oorooooroo — Hard, tough, strong 
Ooroocathina —Lying at full length 
Oorthie — Branches 

Ootamanurie — Hat, covering for the head 
Opera — In front, ahead 
Oothoooothoothunina — Stretching the 

arms together over the 

Ooyamuna — llemembering 
Ooyella — To pity, conmiiserate, com- 

Ooyellala — Pitying 

Para — Hair of the hea<l 

Parayelchyelcharoo — The hair straight- 
ened on end from the fore- 

Parakurlie — Large head of hair 

Paramooroo— Tliickly matted hair 

}*arana — Crossing over 

Parabara — With force and strength 

Parchana — All 

}*arkooloo — Three 

Paroo — A small bony fiat fish 

Paraparawu m i e — Foolish 

l^aruna — Stopping at a certain place 

Parunaori— Has Btop\>ed 

Parunawonthie — Had stopped 

ParuUuni — Will stop 

Pathuna— Tired 

Pathapathana — I am tired 

Pathara — A box tree 

Patharacoorie — Yonns tree, sanlinff 

Paulkoo— Flesh 

Piduna — Pounding, cmshiiiff 

PiUa— Charcoal 

Pildrapildra — Struck by liffhtninff 

Pillie— Bag 

Pilkildra — Something else 

Pilkiela — Another 

Pilkie — Not relating to 

Pilliethillcha — ^The Aurora Australis 

Pillpillieunkuna — To flatten anything 

Pina — Laree, great 

Pinaroo — Old man 

Pinaenna — Increasing in stature, grovii^ 

Pinpanaori— Has shared 

Pinpanawonthie — Had shared 

Pinpalauni — Will share 

Pinpuna— Sharing 

Pindrie — Grasshopper 

Pindrathie — Thin as a grasshopper 

Pinya — An armed party 

Pinyanie — My armeil party 

Pinyalie — Our armed party 

Pinyaloo — Of the armed party 

Pirra — Moon, trough, tub 

Pirrauma— A shield 

Pirramundroo — Shields 

PirramoonktK) — A ricochet 

Pirrakuna — Groping in any enck*e'l 

place with the hands t-jf 

Pirrie— Gap, grove 
Pirraooroo— Paramour (each man Im 

from two to six) 
Pirrundroo — The trough 
Pitta —Stick, piece of wood 
Pi ttun«lroo— it elating to the stick 
Pittatlintliie— A piece of wood that b* 

been used or cut 
Pittacopara — Uoots of trees 
Pittaboobarichuna — Sand-fly 
Pittie — Fundament 
Pittiethawa— Harping on one subject 
Piuthie — Nickname 
Piya — Birds 

Piyaundroo — The birds 
Piyacooiluua— Noise caused bv hinJi 

settling on land or 'water 
Piyawola — The nest 

Piyawolundroo— Relating to the nc«t 
Piyara — Mother-in-law 
Poolkami — To blow 
Poolkuna — Blowing 
Poolkamarow— Blow (imperatively) 

Pooldroopooldroounkuna Meal grasal 

from seeds 
Pooloouna — Breathing 



Poolpanma — Midday meal when huntiiig 
or gathering seed 

Pontoo — Blunt 

Pontoola — Blunt, an instnunent not 

Pothoo — Only 

Pothookoomoo — Only one 

Poonthina — Taking (fifferent roads 

Poopnna — A word of contempt. (Any 
person lagging behind or 
straggling out of a party is 
told *'poopuna,*' to keep 
his place) 

Pooraka — Dry waterhole, claypan dried 

Poorina — Fallen, to fall 

Powa — Fine see<l 

Pukuna — Exploding, bursting 

Pukicathic — Apt to explode or bnrst 

Pukala— Frost 

I»ulkara— Night 

Pulkami — To go 

Pulkuna— Going 

dyin^ out 

Pulunaori — Has die<l out 

IMlunawonthie — Had died ont 

Pulunauni — Will die out 

Pulparoo — Surface 

Pulpa— Others 

Pulara — Women are so called when ap* 
|M)inteil to perform any 
s])ccia] mission, such as 
assembling the tribes 

Punga — A small tly, hanlly discemiblei 
but capable of inflicting a 
sting as painful as that of 
the wasp 

Ihinie — No, none 

Pumlra— Cooked, not raw 

IMnkara — Level 

Punthama — To smell 

Punthamuna —Smelling 

l^inchietharku na — Kneeling 

l^inlakunaori — Has brought 

Purdakunawonthie— Had brought 

l^nlakalauni— Will bring 

IMnlakunna — Bringing, carrying 

1 *unlie— ( t rub, caterpular 


l^nluna— Holdini; 

l^inlamarow — Hold (imperative) 

Punlanmlluna- Holding each other 

l*urdaini— To hold 

Purdanaori— Has held 

Ihirdawonthie — Had held 

1*urathuni — Smooth, flat, abowlinggreen 

Purie— Under the snrfaoe 

Pumrie— Beneath the ■nriace, under* 

Purriewillpa — sky 
Purriewillpanie — Heavens 
Puthina— Early 

Thalkoo— Straiffht 

Thalpacooroo— Hard of hearing 

Thalpina — Warm, not cold 

Thandrana— Pouring 

Thaugemana — With force 

Thana^They, them 

Thaniya— Those 

Thanyoo — Dried fruit 

Thanyoondra— The dried fruit 

Thanpoortina — Caving in 

Tharka— Stand 

Tharkuna— Standing 

Tharkami— To stand 

Tharkiebuna— To stand anything on end 

Tharalkoo — Ducks 

Thatha — A crack in wood, stone, or 
other matter 

Thatie— The middle 

Thaubulyoo — Rotten egg 

Thaumpara — Pelican 

Thikamuna— Spinning 

Thiewie — Flowers 

Thieaoolraroo — Saw 

Thidnayoonkurrie — Cramp in the toes 

Thilohaumina — Impatient 

Thidnara— Nephew 

Thilpa— Tease, provoke 

Thilpuna — Provoking 

Thilpathumina — Provoking each other 

Thilluna — To bubble up, effervesce 

Thinthami — To lose, to spill 

Thinthana — Losing, spilling 

Thinthinanaori — Has lost or spille<l 

Thinthinawonthie — Had lost or spilt 


Thinkabooroo — Dawn 

Thipie — Alive 

Thipieoondra^Regard for life 

Thippirruna~To give life 

Thirrie— Fight 

Thirrina — Fighting 

Thirriemullaua— Fighting with each 

Thirkana— A song sung at the circum- 
cision, and sacredly kept 
secret from the women 

Thitti— TickUsh 

Thokundruna— Throwing down 

Thookami — To carry on the back 

Thookuna — Carrying on the back 

Thookanaori — Has carried on the back 

Thookanawonthie — Had carried on the 

Thookalanni— Will carry on the back 

Thookamarow — Carry on the back (im- 

Thookamnllnna — Carrying each other 
on the back 



Thoola — Stranffer ; also flint 

Thooldrina — Playing 

Thooda — Noon 

Thoonka — Unpleasant smell, stench 

Thoonkuruna — Stinking 

Thoonchlmina — Sneezing 

Thoondakunathoorana — Sleeping on the 

Thoondakuna— Anything lying on its 

Thoopoo— Steam 
Thooroo — Fire, firewood 
Thoorooduruna — Lighting a fire 
Thooroomunya — Firestick 
Thooroothiewillka — Sparks of fire 

emitted from flint or stone 
Thooroothooroo — Very,hot 
Thooringie — Marrow 
Thoorpuna— Twisting string or rope 
Thootchoo — Reptiles, insects 
Thootchoondroo — Relating to reptiles or 

Thootchawor 00— A lad after circumcision 
Thodaroo — Fog, mist 
Thudaka — To vibrate, shove, or push 
Thudakuna—Vibrating, pulsation, beat- 
Thula — Name 
Thulara — Rain 
Thularabooldriiia— The clouds gatheripg 

before breaking 
Thularakooduna — Raining 
Thularapolkoo — Clouds 
Thularakiiiie — Lightning 
Thularayindrie — Thuixler 
Thuliekirra — To put the tongue of the 

mouth to denote that the 

person who does so is only 

Thumpuna — Walking softly on tiptoe to 

Thumpathumpuiia — Walking stealthily 

so as not to disturb prey 
Thunkuriua— Goiug over 
Thunka— Juice 
Thunlie— Tliirst 
Thurdiealie —Thirsty 
Thuroo — Father-in-law 
Thurakami — To swim 
Tliurakima — Swimming 
Thuraka— Swim 
Thunma — Flying 
Tianii — To eat 
Tiana — Eating 
Tiala— Eat 
Tianaori — Has eaten 
Tianawontliie — Had eaten 
Tialauni— Will eat 
Tiamarow — Eat ( imperatively) 
Titituna— Masticating 
Tithatitha — Pockmark 

Uknrrie — Onn 

Ulka— Spittle, 

Ulkundroo— Spittle 

Uldra— We, us 

Uldranie — Of us 

Ulchutchamuna — To threaten 

Unakoo — Don't know 

Unkana — Making, doinff 

Undrakoomoo— One ofUie flock or psrt 

Unpa — Tassel made from fur of rati 
and worn to hide the prir 

Unpundroo — Tassel 

Undrawolpuna — Covered, not in view 

Uila— Well 

Utta — An Exclamation 

Urrapuma — Startled, sudden fright 

Urramurana — Gay 

Urrathuriea — Attend, regard what I «3 

Urrathurruna — Paying attention 

Urrina — Listening 

Urraurraunkana — Breathing hard 

Urrawordoo — Gasping 

Urawa — Salt 

Urraurruna — A cantion to he csrefd d 
the young, to avert danger 
from them w^hile <m\ knnt- 
ing or on expeditioiis 

Urriena — to descend 

Urriemu tha — Floods 

Urriemuthundroo — Relative to floods 

Wadarie — Where 

Waka — Small, not much 

Wakawaka— -very small, mite 

Waran ie — R ef u sal 

Warapa — Inform 

Warapami — To inform 

Warapu iia — I nf < )rniing 

Warapunaori— Has informetl 

Warapunawont hie— Hail informe.1 

Warapulauni — Will inform 

Wata — Don't 

Watawanie — Island 

Wathara — Wind 

Watharaundroo— Relating to the wiixl 

Waukriebuna — Breakin^^ 

Waukanaori — Has broken 

Whi— What 

Wiala — Cook 

Wiami — To cook 

Wiiina — Cooking 

Wiunaori— Has cooked 

Wiunawonthie — Had cooked 

Wiulauni — Will cook 

Wiauie— Nonsense 

Widla — Women 

Wi<llapina — Old women 

Wi«llamura — Women 

Wilapathuruna-- Anything in motioo it 

a distance, as, for instance. 

branches of trees 



WiemniA—LeaTiog the camp for a day's 

Wieilkami— To take charge of the child 
when hunting 

Wieilknna — Taking charge of the 
children when hunting 

Wilyaroo — A ceremony 

Wilpuna — Whiitling 


Willpawillpa— Full of holes 

WiUpalooloo— White hole; also etnind 

Wimuna — Placing under cover, puttmg 

Wima — Put in 

Wimma — Song 

Wimmawonkuna — Sin^ng 

Wimamarow— Put in (imperatively) 

Windami— To count 

Windimuna — Counting. 

Windrie — Only 

Wintha— When 

Winthnrie — Whence 

Winya— Wither 

Winyetmna— Withered 


Wippivirrie— Gutter, water-course 

Wirrefyema — Level ground 

Wirrileama — Leading a weak person 

Wirrea— Under cover 

Wirrunaori— Has gone under cover 

Wirrunawonthie— -Had gone under cover 

Wirralauni— Will go under cover 

Wirruna — Setting of the sun and moon 

Wirrka — Fissures 

Wirrkanie— Flats with many fissures, 

Wirrtie — Sona 

Wilohiena— Irembling from fear 


Withie— Wound 

Wittwittuna — The roaring of thunder 
Wittawittanathurina — Continued roar 
of thunder without inter- 
Wodarrie— Where 
Wodow— What, how 
Wodaunchoo— How many 
Wodanie—Wliat is it Uke 
Wodaroo— What do you say 
Wokbuma — Arriving 
Wokumaori — Has arrived 
Wokumawonthie^Had arrived 
Wolpuna— To cover 
Wolpaduknna — Covering over 
Wolsfuna — Walking leisurely 
Woltoami — To carry 
Wolthanaori — Has carried 
Wolthaoawonthie~Had carried 
Wolthanalaoni — Will carry 

Wooloobnkanathoorana — Sleeping on 

the face 
Wooloo— Terrific pace, very swift 
Wolka— Offspring, the young of any 

Wolthoo~Not firm, shaky, rioketty 
Wolkapurrie — Two perpendicular marks 

in red ochre on the stomach 

to distinguish those who 

have been on the red ochre 

Woliewoliebuna—Person who prevents 

a quarrel 
Woliewoliebundroo — Relating to a 

Wompinie— In the shade, sheltered from 

Wonka— Sin^ 
Wonkana — Binmng 
Wonkunaori— Has sung 
Wonkunawonthie— Had sung 
Wonkamullana— j3inyng together 
Wonkulauni— Will smg 
Wondrami — ^To show 
Wondruna — Showing 
Wondrunaori—Has shown 
Wondrunawonthie — Had shown 
Wondralauni— Will show 
Wondramarow — Show (imperative) 
Wondrala— Show 
Wondaroo— Shower, indication of rain ; 

also, closely knitted bsg 
Wonina— Tracking 
Woninaori — Has tracked 
Woninamonthie— Had tracked 
Woninalanni— Will track 
Woninamullana — ^Tracking each other 
Wonchumi—To try, to taste 
Wonchuna — Trying tastinff 
Wonchathuruni^— Has tried, has taste^l 
Wonabunyie— The small bone of emu*s 

or kannroo's leg 
Wonthawirrieyinknna—Travelling to a 

certain olace 
Wonthilcurie^Ronna the other side 
Woonthatharka — A calling place 
Wonthina — Search 
Wonthinaori — Has searched 
Wonthinawonthie — Had searched 
Wonthilauni— Will search 
Wonthithuruna — Searched in vain 
Wopnna — Gone 
Wopulkuna — Going 
Wopunaori— Has gone 
Wopunawonthie--Had gone 
Wopulanni — WOl go 
Wopala— Are going 
Worietha— Long way off, distant 
Worami— To throw 
Woruna — ^Throwing 
Woranaori— Has t^^im 




Woranawonthie — Had thrown 

Woramarow — Throw (imperatively) 

Woralaani — Will throw 

Woratharuna — Stumbling 

Woorookarana — Barking 

Worooworookuna— Ricketty, shaky, not 

Workoo — ^The other way 

Woorookathieundroo — Relating to emut 

Worookoomoo — The reverse end 

Woraworana — To desert 

Worapami — To tell 

Worapuna — Telling 

Worapunaori — Was told 

Worapunawonthie — Had told 

Worapulauni — Will tell 

Worapathunina — Telling together 

Wordoo — Short 

Wordoopirrapirra — Short and thick 

Wordoowauka — Very short 

Woraunchoo — Left-handed 

Woroola— WeU 

Woroo — ^Time past 

WoBoomurla — Lonfi^ time past 

Woroomoothoo — ^^ry long time past 

Wootchoo — Long and thick 

Wotthiemookoo — The grave 

Wotthina — Building 

Wotthinaori — Has built 

Wotthinawonthie — Had built 

WotthaUuni— Will buQd 

AVolthila— Built 

AVowitcha — Distant relative 

AVulpieunkuna — Plaiting 

AVuldragunya — Summer 

Wuldragunyaundroo — Relating to 

Wulkularie — Sorry 

Wulkulienuua — Sorrow 

Wulkina — In pain 

Wulkinaori — Has suffered pain 

Wulkinawonthie— Had suffered pain 

Wuldraeunyandroo — Relating to emus 

WuldruTie — Warm 

AVulya — Soon 

Wulyaloo — Hereafter 

Wauldrawirrtie — Yesterday 

Wuraoong — Whom 

Wurta — The butt, the trunk, the large 

Wurthanow — Where is it 

Wurthuninkie — From where, whence 

Wurdathulka — To where, whither 

Wurunguna — To be distant, to show 
contempt, disowned, dis- 

AVurrpuna — A cantering pace 

Wumie — Whose 

Wumieundroo — To whom does it belong 

Wurriewarina — Exhausted, knocked up 

Wurlie — Who will, who did 

Wurana— -Who 

WarunganalawopiA — Have disowned, 
have discarded 

Ya— And 

Yae — Desist 

Yakulkami — To question 

Yakulmarow — ^To question (impen- 

Yakulkuna — Questioning 
Yakulknnaori — Has questioned 
Yakulkunawonthie — -Had questioned 
Yakulkunami — WiU question 
Yakulka — Question 
Yadina — Lie 
Yadinaori — Has lied 
Yadinawonthie — Had lied 
Yadinabunna — Will lie 
Yadinakaunchie — Liar for certain 
Yaniekaitcha — A bone 
Yaniethnma — ^To place a stick thra^ 

the arms across the h&dk 

(native mode of loongii^ 
Yandrowda — Now, at present^ abosi 

this time 
Yapa — Fear 
Yapalie — Fright 
Yapalieunana — Frightened 
Yapakaunchie — Extreme fear 
Yapaooroo— Not afraid 
Yarra — This side, nearest 
Yarapara — That's right 
Yarooka — Like this 
Yarooldra— The same 
Yatouna — Satiate 

YathamuUana — Quarelling together 
Yathami — To speak 
Y'athunaori — Has spoken 
Yathunawonthie. — Had spoken 
Yathulauni — Will speak 

Yathamarow— Speak (imperativelj) 
Yathala — Speak 
Yathi — Have spoken 
Yathuna — Speak ing 
\''aupunie — Afraid 

Ycdlakoo — Very far off, long distance 
Yellaloo — Together 

Y^elkyelkaroo — Extreme excitemest; 
hysterics prevailing chirfy 
amongst the women, uli 
mainly caused by jeak«sy: 
once experienced its retan 
is frequent 
Yegga— Native orange 
Yenmuna — I wait your return 
Yeppina — Burning 
Yeppiiiaori — Has burned 
Y'^eppinawonthie — Had burned 
Yeppulauni — Will bum 
Yera— The other side, farthest away 
Yerrawayerra — Away from voo. 
Yika— To milk ^^ 

Yikanunthoo — Milked 



Yikana — Milking 

Yiknnaori — Has milked 

Yikunawonthie — Had milked 

YikaUuni— WiU milk 

Yikyilljuie — Hysterics after excessive 

Yinkana — Giving 
Yinknnaori — Has mven 
Yinkimawonthie— -Had given 
YinkuUnni — Will give 
Yinknmullona — Giving each other 
Yinkatharrie — Gave 
Yinkiea — Give me 
Yillthurala — Convalescence, recovery 

from sickness 
Yinkanngoo— Of you 
Yinkaun^oondroo — Relating to you 
Yindrami — To cry 
Yindruna — Crying 
Yindrunaori — Has cried 
YindAuiawonthie — Had cried 
Yindrulauni — Will cry 
Yindramarow — Cry (imperative) 
Yindrathuruna — Crying together 
Yinie — You 

Yinkathuruna — To succumb, to yield 
Yinctha — You did it 
Yinpa — Send 
Yinpami — To send 
Yinpuna — Sending 
Yinpunaori — Has sent 
Yinpunawonthie — Had sent 
Yinpulauni — W^ill send 
Yinpamarow — Send (imperative) 
YinpamuUuna — Sending each other 
Yinthina — Dozy, sleepy 
Yirrinya — ^Thin, poor 
Yirrirrsbula — Tomstruct, tocomnussion 
Yirrirrbuna — Instructed, comnussionad 
Yirrchiea — Awake, rise up 
Y irrchuna —A wakening 
Yirrchienaori — Has awakened 
Yirrchiebunawonthie — Had awakened 

Yirrchiebulanni — Will awaken 

Yirrchiebuna — To awaken 

Yookardie— Smoke 

Yookardieoondroo^Relatin^ to smoke 

Yookabitchie — Spade, any kmd of scoop 

Yoolkami— To Swallow 

Yoolkuna — Swallowing 

Yoolkunaori — Has sw^owed 

Yoolkunawonthie — Had swallowed 

Yoolkunanni — Will swallow 

Yooa — Debating 

Yoondrathana — Across country 

Yoola — You two 

Yoondroo — Yourself 

Yoondrooina — You did 

Yoonka — Sulky, sullen, obstinate 

Yoonkaruna — Obstinacy 

Yoorkamuna — Roasting 

Yoora— Few 

Yoorala — Love 

Yoorana — Loving 

Yooranaori — Has loved 

Yooranawonthie — Had loved 

Yooralauni — Will love 

Yoorootcha — Horns 

Yootha — Luck 

Yoothamurra — Great luck 

Yoothapina — Very great luck 

Yoothaoutha — No luck 

Yootchoo— Sisniiies a string put round 

uieneck of a person leaving 

to barter with neighbouring 

Yotchoondroo — Relating to Yootchoo 
Youdanie — About here 
Younieka — About this distance; 
Yowara — Language 
Yowerayinkuna — Dictating, literally 

your talk 
Yowerie — The outer fat attached to the 

Yuntha— A piece of wood (see ceremony 

of Willyaroo, page 270) 






or THI 










WooLNER District Dialect. 


In most cases the last syllable of a word is almost silent. 

The letters are all sounded. 

The vowels are sounded as follows : — 

& as in father 

A as in fat 

ft as in fate 

c or ee as in weed 

d as in wed 

eu as o in love 

Q as in full 

u as in cup 

g (where printed in italic) hard ; otherwise soft, as in sing, sung 

qu as in queen 

r (where printed in italic) Northnmbrian burr ; otherwise as usual 

I as in pine 
I as in pin 
u as in cold 
das in cot 
oi as in coin 
00 as in cool 
ow as in cow 

Adder, death 
Afternoon, this ... 




Axe, tomahawk ... 
Aye (astonishment) 
Bad, no good 


Bandicoot rat 
Bark of tree 

Beard ... . . 
Be off 


Belt, hair 

Be quiet, stop ... 

MfmUlKW^ • • • • • • 


Boat, box, case, ship 













Bracelet, glass ... 


Break, to, or broken 
Bring here 
Brinff, will 
Brother, younger 
Brother, elder ... 
Bullet, stone 
Camp, night 
Chief of tribe 

Close to, near ... 
Cloth, covering ... 


Cockatoo, white 
Cockatoo, black ... 


Coloors, Tarious ... 













LAng-In- mUn- ftng-^r 





Come hers 



Come with me .. 






Coral ... 



CoDiitrr district . 


Connu ... 


Hnngry ... . 



I (prononn) 

Crab, muU 


Creek ... 

Iitmbark ... . 

<!arlew, be«ob . 


Ironbark, gum . 


M6r.mS-m6r, or 

It, its 
Jabiru (bird) 


L-ngh ... . 

De>th >dder 
Diitriet ... 



Diitance ... 


likeneu ... 

Don't touch 



Dream ... 



Dreu, covering . 



Drinking shell . 


Lower jaw 

Duck, brown 


Lubr* ... 



Man, yoimg 

Eggs ... . 

. Longmi 

Malta (ship) 

Emu ... . 

. M6r-5-qo6n.d6r 

Me, mine, my . 

. Mft 

Midday U.^., 


Midnight j **^"'y 

. U 

Moon ... . 

Eyelid ... '. 

. Ma-Ong'In-yil-ker 

Mosquito ... 

F»ther ... 



. Ngta-mto 

Mother ... 

Fern, rock 

. Lo-Crn-er-lltSr 

Mullet, jumping . 

Finger ... . 

Name ... . 


. Lae-tnng-er 



Needle, pin. Ac. . 

Fish (generally) . 

. LlySr 

Nephew ... . 



Nets, fishing . 


Nets, rams 

Food (generally). 




. Um-mal 

Nose ... . 

Forehe»d ... 


Nostrils ... . 


. Loo-wSr-Im-e 

Now (present) 



Old man, grey 
One, numeral 


: \^i°yCr-mln-ya.ker 

gsriSE ; 

Palm, cabbage 

. Dn-an-mfr 

Pakn. fern 

Give me ... 

. Kfr-nln-mSr 

Palm, spiral 

Give to drink 

. Mni-tdck-er 

Paper bark 

Go away ... 

. Kr-rSHjoe 

Parrot, blue raou 

Go, gone ... 

, Nln-mo-quC 

Go, may (pros, sab 

) Golu-ee 

PaiTot, red wing 

Graaa (generaUy) 

. Lfr-mal-nPr 

Pin, needle, &c 

air, htad . 

Pelican ... 

air, belt... . 

. MQm-ma.mer 

and ... 

. MUn-enee 



. Ler-wln-yttk-Sr 

Pheaaant ,. 

awk, common . 

. Mo-Crk-a 

Pipe clay ... 


. 0-wln-gee 

Portrait ... 





. Mod-la-qua 

Rain ... . 

Hear, to ... 



Sm ... . 

. Neel-Pr 

Reed (bracelet) . 



Beflaotioii (image) 


Safe, well, health 


ooo ••• ••• ••• 

Shellfish, whelks!.! 
„ periwinkle 
Shot, stone 


Siok, Tomiting ... 
Silence, hold yoar 

Similar, like 
Singing song 
Sit down ... 



Snake, water (food) 
Some time back .. 
Sores, smallpox ... 
Spears, barbed ... 
„ light reed 
,, stone 


Stop, don't do that 

Stiffs strong, hard 

Stinging ray 







„ with us 

Tkttoo , 




































M6.Ilw«r (or) wl-wl 







There Tdktll (or) tlck-il-«r 

Thomb, bigtoe ... Me-ty-&n-&-mang*^ 
Thunder and light- jj^^,^^ 



Toe, finger 


To-night ... 


Tortoise (Und) 


Trumpet ... 


Two (numeral) 


\y • • • • • • 

Vampire (bat) 
Wallaby ... 
Warm, hot 
Water ... 


















. T&pp6lAnd«<^r (or) 

W^^8«>d ^^^' NgWd.l6 

What, who, which W6iig-Al-yer 

Where Ung-gl-l6-qu5 

White Long-ln-mlkn-ntlng-er 

Wife (lubrm) 


Woman (heavy) 

Woman (light) 


Wuriey ... 



Yellow ... 


Your, yours 

Young men 













Al-UVr-kir ... 

BSr-roHiuc ... 
Bdin-bdin ... 
Cttp-nlmee ... 



A younger or 

second wife 
Be off, go away 
Parrot, redwing 
Come here 
Close to, near 
Silence, hold your 

Belt for the waist' 
Good, aoouiescsnoe 




Inmdklt^r ... 

In-mdrdCr ... 




A^M • • • • • • 

LA-A-mAl ... 
LAff.k«r ... 

Oo, may (pres. sub. > 
Shellfish, whelks 
Tired, weary 
Bring, will 
Cold, windy 
Give me 

Cockatoo, bUck 
Vampire (bat) 
Axe, tomahawk 
like, similar 
She says 



Lft-ytihr ... 

... Nostrils 


... Louse 

Le-ft-w^r ... 

... Pheasant 

Leet-pee ... 

... Turtle, a tree- 



... Fire 


... No 

Le-k&'ker ... 

... Ck>ckle8hell used as 

a knife 


... Duck, brown 


... Palm, cabbage 


... Image, likeness 


... Hair, head 


... Snake, water (food) 

L?r-mo-kCr-nttng- Bark cut for cover- 

tlnCr inff 

li^r-mdng-mdll-mSr Bandicoot rat 
LCr-mo-quC-ler ... Light spear, 

LCr-mttl-yCr-g&ngCr Allieator 
Le-o-dlt-chln-mtlck- Black and white 

<^r duck 

LKig-IlyCr ... 
LCuv-e-yer . . . 

... Coral 

.. Stiff, strong, hard 

,.. Grass (generally) 

... Arm 

... Lightning 

T Kw X X 1 X J Lizard, frill 

LCttv-we-ft-kCp JLi^^; eommon 

L6-y2hr Yellow 

Le-ytLhrl Drinking shell, 

Llm-oor-de-yer ... Adder, death 

Llkoor-ltV Light spear (reed) 

Lil-mtin-unii-CndCr Jahiru (bird) 

Lil-ytT-wfr Hill 

Lin-yOr-ker ... Yam bag 

Lin-iln-mtT Give her or him 

Llneti^r Bring here 

Lln-y6-ker Nets, rams 

LiyPr Fish (generally) 

Lo-ftr-ke-cng-t^r ... Black 
Lo-t^m-Cr-Ut^T ... Fern, rock 

L6-il-wIl Fire-stick 

Lo-il-yfr Moon 

Lo-in-yfr IShell fish, peri- 

L6ng-md Eggs 

Lo-O-cul There, in that place 

Loorl ... ... Sit down 

Loo-wir-Ime ... Fowls 

T»o-we Spears of stone head 

Loo-wIl-e-ftppCr ... Crab, small 

Loqudl Bracelets, &c. 

(reed glass) 

Ltic-llCr Over there, in that 


Lttg-il-y5r Grass (generally) 

Lting-& Bullet, stone 

Ltmg-in-mttn-ttng-^r White, white 

Lttng-it-p?r-n?r .. Lower jaw 

Lting-dr Ilng>{$r ... Old man, grey 

Ltlng-oi-t^r Fly, common 

LOng-oil-wSr ... Tortoise (land) 

Md Eye, or see 

M&-dng-In-ytl-kSr .. Eyelid 
M&-deet-tlng-&r ... Ironbark tree and 

M&ll&m-5-oil . . . Native yam 

Mal-yCr-m6-I-t6r ... Crab, large 

Mdn-^nee Hand 

Mdn-yTn-n^-1ing$r Wallaby 

Me-ftn-yCr Large 

M€-^g-&i-^r ... Young man, of age 
M6-&-pung-Sr ... Many, much, mors 
Me-&'ker-niLl ... Small root, yam 


M6-a-kul Tree (light wood) 

M6-et-ntick-?r ... Small, little, few 
Me-ed-p«hrl ... Flute, trumpet, 

part of corroborie 

MCm-e-tJ^r Spiral palm, plaited 

grass work 
MCm-in-ySr ... Throat 

MCr-w&l Name 

Mfr-wi-16r Red 

M(?r-m4-pfr ... Forehead 
Me-tee-ter By-and-by, pre- 
sently, this after- 
Me-ma-ke ... ... To-night 

Me-llng-mCr ... Some time back 

Mfm-in-y?r ... Neck 

Mr*n-m-y<?r ... Singing, song 

Morry-mfrry ... Knife, scissors, &c. 

Mi'r-wag-ntltter ... Bread 
Mi'r-nia-mCr, or mO- Dead, death 

Me-ty-an-ft-mtlDg-?r Thumb, big toe 
Mt*t-pa-dlng-er ... Club 
Meur-wt^r Tree or wootl gen- 
Mrtiv-wo-we ... Barbell heavy spears 
Mlk-ehr-nee-ler ... Sleep here, a camp 

Mlng-A-gCr Saliva 

Miiig-ag-mtlng-tT ... Tattoo marks 
Mln-nlng-?r ... Midnight 

Ml-nee ... ... Come with me 

Mln-mor Wind 

Mi-O-mfr Flour 

Mm-na-kfr Paperbark and tree 

Mlnye-mlnye ... Colours, various 
Mni-tiick-fr ... Give to drink 

MOr-dOng-fr ... By-and-by, pre- 


M(!)-Cr-ty Case, box, boat, 

canoe, ship 

M6-Il-wfr Stars, to swim 

Moong-oor-oong-5r-?r Mosquito 

Mo-qufhrl Eyebrow 

Mo-quC Break, or broken 

MO-quM Run 




M6r-5^iiOn-dCr ... 

Ma*($rk-& ... 






M um-mf r-nung-^r . . . 










N a*wCr 







Nlm-meo ... 



< K»k-er*iook-€r 






J op* poo ... ... 





Rain, rainy season 


Hawk, common 



Hair, belt 


Mullet, jumping 


Belt made of hair 
Food (generally) 
Wife (lubra) 
Pin, needle, suchlike 
Stop, be quiet 
Clothing, covering 

Here, in tnis place 
You, yours 
Well, good heJth. 

Safe, well health 
Fear, frightened 

You do, or say that 
Go, eone 
Brotner, elder 

Stinging ray 

Whelks, shellfish 


Warm, hot 


They, them, theirs 

Speak out, let us 
hear you 


Sores, smallpox 

At the present 
time, directly 

Drinking or w«ter 

Land, country dis- 

One, numeral 

Distance, long, or 

TTck-&l-«r ... 
TOlloiyCr ... 



Ung-goin-gln-ee ... 















Wee-y(*hr ... 







A Wk •«• ••• ••• 


Y&m-m j*r-In 








Two (numeral) 

Toe, finger 

Root of waterlily 



I, me, mine 

May I go 


Sugar, hone^ 

Sick, vomitmg, 
fern, pabn 

To hear, the ear 

Curlew, beach 





Woman (heavy) 




Parrot, blue moun- 


Sister or brother 




Swim, bathing 

House, hut, wuriey 

To-day, mid-day 

Bad, no good 

J*i^y, goose 

Ship's masts 



What, who, which 


Nets, fiahing 



Expression of as- 


Pathway or track 

Chief or head of 




Adelaide River, Upper S. of Anld's Lagoon, Chief Der- 

Adelaide Biver, just above Nanows, Chief Timowry 
Auld's Lagoon, (Fred's Pass) . . . 

Beatrice Hills 

Escape Cliffii 

Jnlia C^eejL ... ••• 

First Biver Camp (Pearson's 6ght) Chief NeOr-lnng-er 

Manton's fixst survey Camp. Beatrice far. j 27/7/65 


Melville Island 

Narrows, district around 

Plains, foot of Mount Daly 
Sandy Beach, Chambers' Bay ... 

Bed Banks, 3rd Creek 

Swamp, big, between Cliffs and Narrows, on coast ... 






Mlllk($r.r&.rft Toi-pftn 









l&'0iiTTOti,^Vid%9cA^.,YcSxv\iii;t«,^1 FUudcra Lane Wett, Melbourne.